Google Meet has received a major feature upgrade as the company seeks to catch up with competitors Zoom and Microsoft Teams. With the new integration, some users are seeing a button to launch the app from their email side-panel.
The prominent display is a clear attempt to capitalize on the Covid-19 pandemic as more users work from home. Microsoft Teams has reached up to 75 million daily active users in this time period, while the Zoom video conferencing software has more or less become a household name.
As a part of that effort, Google last week made Meet free to anyone with a Google account and allows up to 16 video feeds at once. That's significantly more than Teams, which recently received an upgrade to just nine.
Historically, Google has struggled greatly to get its chat and video software off the ground. Meet was formerly known as Hangouts Meet, while its Hangouts Chat app is now known as Google Chat. Then there's Hangouts video chat, which still exists, but probably not for much longer. This fractured ecosystem, versus the simplicity of ‘Zoom', maybe partly responsible for its lack of mainstream popularity.
The email integration is likely to get users more aware of Google Meet's free status while enhancing productivity for those who do want to quickly connect with someone after an email.
In April, Google announced that it's adding 3 million new users to Google Meet daily, and recently hit 100 million daily Meet meeting participants. The addition will only boost those numbers, but whether the app will stick around after the pandemic is still an unknown.