Google Hangouts was initially part of the Google+ platform and provided a video chat system that you could use to connect up to 10 people on a video call for free. When it first came out, I thought it was an intriguing option for connecting with clients and prospects using video chat. Unfortunately, the Hangouts platform was a bit unstable and required Google Chrome.
Meet Google Meet
Google announced that their focus for Hangouts would move from consumers to business use. Google Meet (officially called Google Hangouts Meet) is the new iteration of Hangouts specifically designed for business use.
Google Meet allows you to create video meetings with people inside or outside your organization. You can join a Google Meet from a computer or mobile device.
There are a few changes in Google Meet from the consumer version of Hangouts. Google Meet does support HD video meetings with up to 30 members rather than the previous 10. Google Meet lets you dial into meetings (if you have the Google apps enterprise version). Integration with Gmail and the Google Calendar make it easy to convert a Hangout conversation into a meeting.
Google recently acquired Sweden’s Lime Audio to improve call quality, particularly on slower connections. I suspect Google will integrate its Google Assistant bot into Google Meet to be able to compete with Facebook and Microsoft.
What you can do with Google Meet
Make video calls. Meet makes it easier than ever to start and join video meetings from mobile devices, computers, or a conference room. You can meet with up to 25 (G Suite Basic and Business) or 30 (G Suite Enterprise) people at a time.
Invite people inside or outside your organization. Schedule a meeting using Google Calendar or invite people after you join the call.
Dial in from a phone. A phone number and PIN is automatically added to every Meet video meeting created by G Suite Enterprise users. Anyone can use the number to dial in (including external users and people using other G Suite editions). Note: Only U.S. numbers are currently supported. Regular call charges apply.
Schedule meetings. All meetings scheduled with Google Calendar include a Meet video link. If you have the G Suite Enterprise Edition, meetings also include a dial-in number so people can call in for audio access.
Start an instant meeting. On your phone, open the mobile app or, in your browser, go to https://meet.google.com, start a meeting, and then invite others to join.
Share your screen. While in a meeting, you can share your screen to present slides or other information on your desktop.
Use multiple devices. Scheduled meetings are synced automatically across devices, so you can start a meeting on your computer and continue on another device, such as your phone.
What you need to get started on Google Meet
To create a video meeting using Google Meet, you need a G Suite account.
Most insurance organizations use Microsoft products and not Google business products. So, using the new Google Meet app may not be a viable option. However, many smaller organizations do use the Google apps; the new Google Meet might be an attractive option for connecting with your clients and prospects over a video chat.
It does highlight the necessity every insurance organization exploring how they can use video chat more effectively both internally and externally.
What tools is your organization using to connect with people visually?