Google Hangouts was the primary option for video chats in education for the past couple of years and now it is going away. Google has said that in the near future, it was going to split up Google Hangouts into two services, Meet and Google Hangouts Chat. For those of us in education, the central question is: how is Google Meet different than Google Hangouts?
What Is Google Meet?
Google Meet is a website and an app for iOS and Android. Meet is a replacement for Google Hangouts video chat. Google Hangouts was once the unified messenger that did both text and video. For a while Google Hangouts on Air, a live-streaming service, was also a part of that system. Now, Google is breaking up Google Hangouts into two different tools, Meet and Hangouts Chat.
How Is Google Meet Different Than Google Hangouts?
Google Meet is meant to be a lightweight video chat service. In an article with TechCrunch.com, Google’s Google’s director of product management, Drive Scott Johnston, said that one of the biggest complains from users is “just how people are spending so much time on getting into the meetings.” He went on to say “We’re a big supporter of automating the full meeting life cycle from agenda to follow-ups. But meeting value today is destroyed by time-to-start. It takes so long to simply get started.” It is clear where Google is headed and their rationale for going there. But that still leaves us wondering, how is it different?
In today’s classrooms, many teachers and students are using video chat services to connect with classrooms across the globe. Teachers are connecting with teachers, administrators are meeting with parents, and students get to meet other students and professional experts. Video chat has expanded the walls of the classroom and Google Meet helps do this better than Hangouts, even though there are less features included with the service.
How Many People Can Be In A Google Meet?
The maximum number of participants in Google Meet is now limited to 30.
Who Can Join A Google Meet Video Chat?
To join, all someone needs is a link to the chat or a code to enter.
What Are The Features of Google Meet?
- All calls are encrypted for security
- Video recording built-in (at the time of writing, this was promised as a feature but there was nothing to enable it)
- Can be added from Google Calendar appointments
- Your next meeting appears on the meets.google.com page
What Is Missing in Google Meet?
To make Google Meet faster, Google had to get rid of a lot of additional bloat in the service. So there is no embedded chat, no plugins, no additional controls. This tool is bare-bones. But it is fast and super easy to join. You can see my full review of the features and what it is lacking in the video below.
How To Turn On Google Meet
By now, you probably want to jump in and test out Google Meet. Schools currently have to enable Google Meet to have it replace Google Hangouts. That will probably change as Google makes Meet the default video chat app. For now, here are the instructions for enabling Google Meet.
Google Meet is really good at what it does: video chat. Google has been specializing their tools in recent years and after producing an awesome tool like Google Photos, I am excited for the direction that Google is headed. Google Meet is a really good service that allows high-quality video chat that is easy to join. When connecting with others, especially distant classrooms or experts, the last thing hosts need is a video chat plugin error. Google Meet simply works.
Have you tried Google Meet? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.