With both companies and schools worldwide being closed due to the coronavirus COVID-19, Google announced help this week for those affected to stay connected with free access to advanced video conferencing features in Google Meet (previously Hangouts Meet). For companies, being able to join meetings remotely can be a life-saver to tackle travel and in-person meeting restrictions. And ultimately, to keep the business up and running. Read about the extended functionalities that become available to all G Suite customers, plus how effective video meetings with Google can make a difference for businesses in these difficult times.
It was a remarkable tweet by Google’s CEO Sundar Pichar earlier this week: Google announced on Tuesday that it would help businesses and schools impacted by the coronavirus COVID-19 by offering free access to Google’s advanced Hangouts Meet video conferencing functionalities to all G Suite customers until the first of July, which has now been extended until the 30th of September.
Hangouts Meet is indeed the application in G Suite that enables one-click setup, effective video meetings to G Suite customers. Long gone are the days that video conferencing required difficult set-ups and more lost time spent on getting the conferencing solution up and running than productive meeting time with colleagues or clients joining remotely.
How does Hangouts Meet Video Conferencing helps to stay connected?
Hangouts Meet basic video conferencing functionalities are available in all G Suite and G Suite for Education subscriptions, like the ability to join video meetings with several people through a simple link in the browser. To enter the video meeting, you can use the audio & video input through your own computer or via a Hangouts Meet Hardware Kit setup or Google Jamboard in a meeting room.
Companies and schools are using Hangouts Meet as part of their G Suite subscription, and we see many of these organisations reimagining the way they work when they start using the Google collaboration tools. When it comes down to video meetings and video conferencing, we see that enterprises that adopt and embrace a video conferencing culture with the efficient remote meeting functionalities of Hangouts Meet, see a firm decrease in travel costs & IT support time spent.
They also see their employee productivity, efficiency and satisfaction increasing, as people are less often away from home and they get access to an easy to use, effective video meeting solution that they can utilise from any device.
But G Suite Enterprise and G Suite for Education Enterprise customers get much more, awesome video conferencing functionalities right at their users’ fingertips. By giving all G Suite customers, also the ones that are on basic or business subscriptions, now free access to the advanced Hangouts Meet functionalities, Google tries to help those companies or schools that are affected by lockdowns or travel restrictions.
With the free access to extended Hangouts Meet functionalities within G Suite, organisations can now replace travel and in-person meetings or even in-person events and trainings; with online video conferencing, video meetings, webinars or online training. Basically this will allow them to keep their business or educational institution up and running.
Which advanced Hangouts Meet video conferencing functionalities become available?
Until September 30th 2020, companies and schools can make use of three extended Hangouts Meet functionalities that are normally only available to G Suite Enterprise or G Suite for Education Enterprise users. These are:
- live streaming for up to 100K viewers within a domain
- video meeting recording to Google Drive
- larger meetings for up to 250 participants per video call
Let’s take a closer look at each of these extended Hangouts Meet functionalities and how they can help businesses and schools to stay more connected in these difficult times.
Livestream your video meetings
Both in G Suite Basic and Business licensing subscriptions, live streaming of video meetings is currently not possible.
G Suite Enterprise does offer this interesting functionality, which you can use to livestream your video meetings for up to 100.000 people within your organisation.
Record video meetings to Google Drive
How can you access the meeting recording? Once this feature is enabled, scheduled meetings can be easily recorded by tapping on the “record” button on the touchscreen room controller (for Hangouts Meet Hardware) or by opening the menu in Hangouts Meet (in browsers) and clicking “record”.
Once the recording is ended and the video has finished processing, it will be stored and accessible in the “My Drive” section of Google Drive. It will also automatically be added as an attachment to the Google Calendar entry for the meeting.
Organise larger meetings for up to 250 participants per call
The third extended Enterprise Hangouts Meet functionality that becomes available to all G Suite customers concerns the amount of people that is allowed to participate in your video meeting. For a few months now during this free ‘trial version’, you’re allowed to organise larger meetings for up to 250 participants per call.
In G Suite Basic you can normally host video meetings for up to 100 participants, in G Suite Business that number of participants rises to 150.
As you can see in the Tweet, companies tested this functionality right after Google announced that the Enterprise Hangouts Meet capabilities would become available, with success.
How to get started with the enterprise trial Hangouts Meet functionalities?
As mentioned earlier in this article, this ‘trial version’ of Hangouts Meet Enterprise functionalities will be available to all G Suite customers until September 30th, 2020. Google started rolling out these Enterprise functionalities for all G Suite domains last week and early this week, so normally your organisation should have access to them already.
You should have access to the functionalities on your domain automatically, but they may be off by default for some domains. In that case, G Suite domain admins will need to enable them by following the steps below:
- From the Admin Console Home page, go to Apps > G Suite > Google Hangouts
- Click Meet Settings
- Check the edit icon on the right side of the “Additional Services” box
- Scroll down and check the box that says “Let users place video and voice calls.”
- In the same screen, turn on other advanced settings for live streaming and meeting recording.
- Click Save
Whether you’re an existing G Suite customer without a solid, efficient video conferencing solution in place; or a company looking to transform to a more digital workplace with a new collaboration office suite that includes easy and robust video conferencing; we recommend you to check out the advanced video meeting functionalities in Hangouts Meet that we described above.
We can only applaud this effort from Google to help those that are going through challenging times right now due to the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis. It’s our hope that many businesses that are facing connection issues with their employees, customers and partners due to this crisis; will find a great solution and trustworthy partner in Google and in Hangouts Meet to keep their organisation running and to enable their workforce to continue the great work they’re doing.
Want to find out more about video conferencing with Google Hangouts Meet or Jamboard? Check out our business continuity with Google page or shop Hangouts Meet Hardware Kits at discounted prices in the webshop!