Google has added the option for its Gmail business and education users to take calls through its video conferencing tool Meet, following a demand for more secure video conferencing tools.
Google Meet is available only to schools, businesses, and governments, as opposed to its more consumer-focused Hangouts platform, which can be joined by anybody with a Google account.
The integration of Gmail and Meets is the first of several other functionalities that are to be added later this month. Google vice president Javier Soltero told Reuters that the company has also decided to roll out several other features ahead of schedule due to the surge in demand for video conferencing tools.
The move is likely to capitalise on Google’s reputation for providing secure tools, as many are becoming wary of video conferencing security breaches such as ‘Zoom-bombing’.
Meet is also set to offer a Zoom-like layout displaying up to 16 call participants at once, as well as improving video quality in dim lighting and the ability to filter background noise such as keyboard clicks.
Google Meet usage has surged 25 times amid the coronavirus pandemic and earlier this month Soltero revealed that Google Meet was adding over 2 million new users every day.
“They’re spending over 2 billion minutes together – that’s more than 3,800 years of secure meetings in a single day,” he wrote in a blog post.
Google has also announced that it would be extending the free availability of advanced Google Meet video-conferencing capabilities for all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers until 30 September 2020.
This follows the news that Microsoft pledged to work with the 27,000 schools in the UK, helping them run lessons remotely using Microsoft Teams, Office 365, as well as software such as Minecraft: Education Edition, Flipgrid, Skype in the Classroom and InTune.