Google today announced it is making its advanced Hangouts Meet videoconferencing capabilities available to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers until July 1, 2020. These include larger meetings, livestreaming, and the ability to record and save meetings. G Suite falls under Google’s cloud division business, which is trying to catch up to market leaders Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.
Business are dealing with the new realities of the COVID-19 coronavirus — just yesterday Twitter became the first major U.S. corporation to tell its employees to work from home. Now we’re also seeing tech companies try to capitalize on remote work. “As more employees, educators, and students work remotely in response to the spread of COVID-19, we want to do our part to help them stay connected and productive,” G Suite VP Javier Soltero explained.
Over the next four months, the following G Suite Enterprise features will be available to G Suite Basic and G Suite for Education customers (compare editions):
- Larger meetings, for up to 250 participants per call
- Livestreaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain
- The ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive
It’s a smart marketing move to offer paid features at no extra charge during a trying time. If those potential customers get hooked, they might upgrade to the more expensive plan. The features will be turned on automatically this week and should be available to all G Suite customers within two to three weeks. If your organization doesn’t use Hangouts, your G Suite admin will have to enable it first. The same goes for the livestreaming and recording features.
As a cloud service, G Suite receives feature updates throughout the year. But a big chunk of those are announced at Google Cloud Next. This year’s installation was slated for April 6 to April 8 in San Francisco. Yesterday, Google transformed the event to an online-only affair due to the coronavirus.