Google is continuing to chase after Zoom in the video conferencing wars, with its latest move integrating Meet into Gmail to put its video calling service in direct view of its users at all times.
Gmail is already pretty well equipped with quick access tools such as the ability to easily create calendar invites and share them within the service, as well as jump into Hangouts meetings. But now some users are noting that a Meet option is popping up in the Gmail sidebar to make it easier for people to start a video conference call from the email service.
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It might seem like a small thing to do, but adding Meet into Gmail makes it more intuitive to use, given that millions of people use Gmail. And Google has been adding Zoom-like features into Meet (opens in new tab) to further expand its capabilities, adding in a tile view that’s similar to Zoom’s interface.
Google Meet was a premium paid-for services until a few days ago when Google decided to make it free for everyone not just G Suite users.
Google Meet has a slight advantage over Zoom in that it’s more secure requiring people to be logged into their Gmail account and get an invitation to a meeting from the host; they simply can get access to the meeting by being forwarded a link. Such a feature can help ease any privacy concerns one might have over setting up video conferences.
Google’s still has Hangouts as well as its Duo app on Android, meaning Google effectively has three services that allow for similar video calling. Choice is great, but sometimes you just want one service that works rather than a choice of several with similar but different capabilities.
Pushing out Meet to Gmail helps put Meet on center stage and could see more people adopt the service and move away from Zoom. After all, Zoom fatigue (opens in new tab) Is a real thing.
Since coronavirus lockdowns came into effect, Zoom has ballooned in popularity. But with Google Meet being built out and integrated into a core Google service, the search giant could start to steal Zoom’s thunder.