Google Meet

Google Meet – A Good Zoom Alternative? – Free video conferencing

Google has responded to the overwhelming popularity of Zoom and the nearly universal unpopularity of Google Hangouts in the online meeting space by releasing their business class product,

Google Meet
Google Meet ref. cnet

their Google Meet product

which just used to be for paid accounts.

They’ve released that now
to the general public.

So we have three questions, do we not?

First of all, how does Google Meet work?

Secondly, is it any good?

And third, how does it stack up to Zoom?

What say we answer those
three questions for you today

on DottoTech.

(upbeat music)

Steve Dotto here.

How the heck are you doing this fine today?

And today, as promised,
we’re gonna take a look

at Google Meet.

Google’s business class,
business conference service that,

until recently, was just available

to the paid subscribers
of the g-suite product,

but now has been rolled out
to the rest of us normal folk.

Now Google is of course
releasing this indirect response

to the popularity of Zoom as
a video conferencing tool.

So we’ve got a lot of questions.

First of all, how well does it work?

Is it a good product?

Because frankly, Google Hangouts,

the free service that we
used to use in place of Meet

for most of us normal folk, it sucked.

It was a terrible service.

So how good is Google Meet?

How does it work?

How good is it?

Is it worth using?

Is it a viable alternative to Zoom?

Those are the questions that
we will have a look at today.

So let us begin.

Now, as is often the case with Google,

there’s a couple of different ways

that you can get into using a tool

and we all aren’t equal citizens

as far as that’s concerned.

As Google rolls out access to Google Meet,

some of us will find
a Start A Meet meeting

in our email bar on the
side of our Gmail software.

Hasn’t happened to me yet,

so I have to do it the old school way.

I have to go to meet.google.com

but there, any of us with a Gmail account,

can start a premium video meeting

now free for everyone.

Amen, let’s dive into it and have a look.

So I suppose the best thing
to do is just start a meeting.

You can also enter a meeting code here.

If somebody has sent you an invitation,

there will be a very complex code,

almost like a password,

that will allow you to join the meeting.

And they’ve started right out of the gate

with these complex meeting IDs

to prevent, I guess they
would call it Meet bombing

as opposed to Zoom bombing.

But when we go to Start A Meeting,

it will then launch the service for us

and it will check out the
resources on your computer

which I have found
to be a little bit problematic

as I have tested this service.

When you are in this window here,

you can get everything
set up for your meeting.

You can start the meeting right now,

you can start a presentation here.

But for the most part, we
should probably check and see

what assets we are using to
present our video and audio.

Because I have had some issues with this.

So we go into Settings and in the Settings

you will see your audio
settings, your video settings,

and your general settings.

You wanna set up which
microphone you wanna use,

and I have several to
choose from on my computer.

Which speakers you want to listen to,

and again, I have several on my computer.

And you can test them out here

and make sure that everything
is working properly.

Similarly, you wanna check to make sure

that you’ve chosen the correct camera

if you have multiple cameras
set up to your system.

And if you wanna change the resolution,

you can change the resolution.

I would probably leave
it at standard definition

for the most part now
because of bandwidth issues.

But that’s gonna be your choice.

If you’ve got phenomenal
bandwidth where you are,

you might try high definition.

Let’s jump in and start
a meeting just on our own

before we invite others to join us.

Now when we launch a meeting,

we are given this Copy joining info screen

which is an invite, an HDMI link,

a web link that people can click on,

you can set it up by email,

so you can invite people
to join your meeting.

Do you remember that code

that I said to answer the meeting code?

That’s this little cryptic code here

at the very end of the URL.

That’s what people can type
in to join the meeting.

You could also invite people
from your Gmail address book

by clicking Add people here.

So there’s a couple of different ways

to add people to your meeting.

And before we’re done today,

I will also show you how
to use Google Calendar

to schedule a meeting in the future.

What I’m showing you right now is

how to start an AdHawk meeting,

where you’re just gonna send out an email

or send out a text message to people

and inviting them in right away

and having them join quickly.

So that’s how you invite
people into your meeting.

And here we have our video screen,

and as you can see we’ve got

a fairly stripped-down management console.

There’s not a lot of
places that you can click.

There’s nowhere near as many tools

as we have within Zoom.

And to be fair, Meet has less
capacity, less capability

than does Zoom.

Here in the top, we see the
people who are in our meeting.

There’s a basic chat window

that will allow us to go to chat.

And we could also see our feed

in a thumbnail view up at the top.

Down of the bottom, this is
where most of the activity

is gonna take place.

If we go into our more options,

we can change the layout, which
I will show you in a moment.

This is useful.

They’ve just recently added this feature

in response to the very
popular Gallery View

which is within Zoom.

You know, that Brady Brunch view

where you have multiple windows of people

always open at the same time.

But you can change your view,

you can change your
layout by clicking here,

which will allow a variety
of different views.

Now depending on how many
people you have in your meeting,

you might have one style
of view which you favor.

This is pretty convenient,
again, fairly basic

but it does give you the main controls

of having a person automatically

pop up when they’re speaking

or being able to view
everybody in this tiled view

or a spotlight view,

if you just want one person highlighted

while everybody else is watching,

more like a webinar.

So you’ve got those options for the views.

We also have in here the
ability to go fullscreen

on your computer,

so it dominates the entire screen.

And they have other additional settings

that you can go into

which bring you back into
your Audio and Video Settings.

And this is something
that’s important, I think.

Because an interesting
thing happened to me

and it’s done it again here.

Even when I set my
speakers to be the speakers

that I normally use for
all video conferencing,

which is my display speakers here

that are built into my display audio,

it’s defaulted back to the sound card

which is within my mixer.

I don’t know why it did this.

It did this several times when
I was in the test meeting,

which I will be showing
you in a few moments,

with my team.

So if you don’t hear the
person that you expect to hear

or they can’t hear you,

rather than kind of make
hand signals and panic,

go down into here.

Go down into the settings

and check that the proper
resource has been allocated

for the task.

You have the proper microphone chosen,

you have the proper speakers chosen,

and you have the proper
video camera chosen.

Make sure that’s all correct.

I guarantee you,

you are going to have issues
with this at some point

in your Meet career.

So that’s there.

Now the other features that
we see here along the bottom

are the ability to turn on captions,

which I will show you in a minute

and is pretty amazing
but also kind of scary.

And we also have the
ability to present now,

which is the screen sharing option.

This is where we can share
our entire computer screen

or one of our windows or
a tab within our browser.

Very basic screen sharing
included within Google Meet,

nothing too fancy, but it does cover

the bare minimum.

Kind of the minimum viable
product of what you need

for a tool like this.

So I think that’s pretty
much all the options

that we have.

You can hang up on your call,

you can turn on or off
or mute your microphone

or camera at this point.

And that’s really how it works.

That’s pretty much Google Meet.

So let’s dive in and take a
look at the first meetings

that we did using Google
Meet with my team,

as we walk through some of the features

in an actual video conference.

Sadly, we discovered a slight issue

after we recorded this demo

and that is the fact that
the audio from my team

doesn’t get captured in the video file

as I’m recording the screencast

for us to demonstrate.

And there is no recording
function built into Meet.

So this is gonna have to
be kind of a show and tell.

So we started by looking
at the different view options

within Google Meet

and figuring out which layout I like best

for conducting the meeting
with my small team.

Then I decided to test
out the closed captioning.

You can turn them on in the bottom

and you will see the closed
captioning start to flow

from the bottom as we are speaking.

Now you can’t hear April
and Liz as they’re speaking

but you can see the
closed caption from them.

When I speak, I will
bring up the volume again

and you’ll be able to hear what I say

and you’ll be able to see the delay

before the closed captioning comes in.

But I have to tell you,

I was very impressed with
the quality and the speed

of the closed captioning.

Bearing in mind that I
have a very neutral accent.

All of us on this call had
a fairly neutral accent.

– [Steve] I bet there will be

some funny audio auto corrections

as if you were reading it,

it could end up being incredibly rude.

Okay, now I’m recording.
(co-workers laughing)

Yes, we did that, we went there.

We tried a variety of
different swear words

and I know that many of you,
as soon you test this out,

you’re gonna see exactly what
it is that they blank out

as far as profanities and not.

But here is the thing
that caught my attention

as we were testing this out is

I wonder about how much
trust we’re gonna have

with the fact that Google
is now capturing our texts.

Our conversations as text

which then they can later search on.

If we look at the heart of what Google is,

they’re all about search.

And this is just now another data type

which they will, in some
way, have the ability

to be able to crawl through and determine

our preferences, determine what we like,

to farm information from us

as we go along.

But having said that, the
technical capabilities

of being able to add closed
captioning on the fly

to a meeting,

very, very impressive.

I went on to test out screen sharing

which is pretty much identical
to what you would find

in any other application.

And there’s not much more to show

as far as the features within Google Meet.

Now as it is a business meeting tool,

being able to schedule a meeting
is a really important part

of using any of these tools.

And as I promised you at the
beginning of today’s video,

I will show you how you schedule a meeting

even if you don’t see the
meeting app in your Gmail

at this point.

Meetings can be created
within Google Calendar.

I’m gonna just open and create
a new calendar invite here,

or a new calendar item and appointment.

And when I create a brand new appointment

in Google Calendar,

if I look over here on the side,

I can add
Google Meet video conferencing.

So I’m gonna add a guest
here, I’m just gonna add Liz

to this meeting and invite
her into this meeting tomorrow

and now when I click on
here, it generates a code

that will allow up to 100 participants

to join the meeting.

And when this invite is sent out

to anybody on this distribution list,

they will be invited into the meeting

and we will see the meeting as a line item

in the calendar invite as well.

So everybody will get the login
information automatically.

This is pretty slick,

I would say this is as slick as it gets

as far as adding conferencing
into Google Calendar.

That is really where we
have to stop the comparison

between Meet and Zoom

because we have looked
at all of the features

that are built into Meet

and we can now compare them to Zoom.

You have to recognize that
Zoom has lots of features

that we haven’t compared to Meet

because Zoom is a more capable tool.

So I’m going to now cut to the chase.

I’m gonna give you my final summary.

Is Google Meet the equal of Zoom?

No, it’s not as good an application.

But can you use Google Meet
and be just as productive

as using Zoom?

Yes, I think you can.

If you have basic needs as far
as meeting requirements goes,

Google Meet can do and host
a great meeting for you.

Both of the products are free

and offer good free service.

Both of the products are
relatively easy to use.

If you live in the Google ecosystem,

both the products integrate well.

And if you live in the
Microsoft ecosystem,

both of the products
integrate well as well

as with the Apple system.

So they’re equal players as far
as all of that is concerned.

As far as the quality of the meeting,

Zoom has an edge.

But Zoom requires you to download an app

which I believe delivers
a higher quality feed.

The benefit of Google Meet
is it’s browser-based.

And since it’s coming from Google,

it’s in the chrome browser,

it might have some advantages there.

But overall, my sense is
the quality of Zoom Meetings

is a higher video and audio quality

then is the quality of
Google Meet meetings.

But it’s not a deal-breaker

because the Google Meet
meetings, as you saw,

are perfectly usable.

They were good as far as
the quality’s concerned.

Now as far as security and privacy goes,

I believe that they’re pretty equal

as far as what they’re offering.

But this will be a point of contention.

And I know we will see lots of comments

of people who are in the anti-Zoom camp

and they think Zoom is
a real security risk

to anybody living in North America.

And that is your opinion and
you’re certainly welcome to it,

and I know you will be sharing
it with us in comments.

And I love to see those comments.

But recognize that there’s
an equal number of people,

and we will probably see
an equal number of comments

of people concerned with trusting Google.

You are trusting one company or the other.

And neither one of them,
as far as I’m concerned,

has shown that they are exemplary as far

as earning our trust.

So you’re dancing with one devil

or dancing with the other devil

by using either of these free services.

App versus app, as far
as mobilities concerned,

they’re pretty much of a muchness.

They are very, very equal.

And let’s talk about support
for a moment, shall we?

And as far as I’m concerned,

Google’s support is non-existent.

And as far as most of you are concerned,

from what I’m reading in the comments,

the free version of Zoom,

the support is pretty much
the equal of Google support.

The free version, it’s
pretty much non-existent.

Although the paid users in both platforms

can expect a certain level of support.

But don’t expect exemplary support

from either of these providers.

Google is playing catch
up with their services

so we should be seeing additional features

rolling out in Meet over time.

And a lot of the shortcomings

that I’ve talked about within this video

probably will be addressed over time.

But they’ve got a long way to go

to catch up to the features and benefits

and just the mature product that is Zoom.

That’s it.

I hope that you found the
video today to be useful.

I am looking
forward to the comments

and sharing that you have.

And reading the comments
that you share with me

will inform me to help
me produce more videos

in the future for you.

So let me know what you want to see.

Now if you have found this valuable,

I have a couple of favors to ask.

First of all, please give us alike

and share this video with others

who need to learn more about this topic.

And while you’re at,

if you’ve not yet
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what the heck are you waiting for?

Click that subscribe button,

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and I will see you next
time here on DottoTech.

Until then, I’m Steve Dotto.

Have fun storming a castle.

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