Featured Article from Conferencing

Google Unexpectedly Reveals Meet Conferencing Service

March 02, 2017

Many companies don't like it when information is leaked ahead of schedule. It's even worse when the leak is inadvertent. That seems to be what happened recently as Google, seemingly accidentally, revealed its new conferencing service called Meet just ahead of a major gathering of users.

Meet, based on what was seen from an iOS App Store listing saved by AppAnnie, seems to be a conferencing tool geared toward groups, and those groups operating out of businesses. Meet will offer a significant step up from Hangouts' services, featuring the ability to handle group meetings of up to 30 participants, and in high-definition video. Hangouts, by comparison, can only handle 10 users at a clip. Users have the option to send video at 720p or 360p, or even just receive audio, which makes it an excellent option for users whose bandwidth isn't up to par.

Interestingly, though Meet is a step up from Hangouts, it won't be replacing Hangouts. Rather, it seems to be a business-themed supplement to Hangouts, as the listing declared the app's full name to be “Meet by Google Hangouts.” There's even a website available for this at meet.google.com, though accessing it with anything but Chrome leads to a window that requires users to download Chrome.

The leak came just ahead of Google's big business user conference next week, and it looked like Meet was to be a fairly substantial part of that event. Several events at the conference were focused on conferencing and the like, including one event around “the future of team communications” that would address “the latest additions to the G Suite in the area of team communications.” That sounds a lot like a conferencing tool named Meet.

Of course, the question remains why Google is basically inventing a conferencing tool when there are already so many conferencing tools in the market. Worse, why Google is bringing out a conferencing tool with a walled garden function, allowing only Chrome users to get in on the action. Admittedly, thanks to Hangouts, Google has long been a player in the personal conferencing market, and Meet might be just an extension of an already successful product designed to go after the clearly larger business market. Adding in integration with G Suite tools, meanwhile, could give it a little extra edge in the market, and that's never a bad thing.

Google may be facing something of an uphill battle with Meet, but if it's drawing on a satisfied market already, it may be closer to success on this front than anyone expected, leak or no leak.

Edited by Alicia Young