Google is playing catch-up.
The tech giant confirmed Thursday that it will belatedly offer a Zoom-style gallery view for one of its video-chat products later this month, but those hoping to add a little Brady Bunch flavor to their Google Hangouts should slow their roll. The new feature, reports Reuters, is only available on Google Meet.
For the blissfully unaware, Google Meet is entirely distinct from the widely used Google Hangouts. Importantly, the service is not free to everyone with a Google account like Hangouts. Rather, it is a paid enterprise service primarily aimed at businesses.
The least expensive G Suite tier that gets you access to Google Meet costs $6 per month, per user. The “most popular” version costs $12 per month, per person. In other words, you’re paying a premium for a feature that competitors like Zoom offer for free.
Google Meet will support up to 16 people at once in the gallery view, notes Reuters.
Notably, in response to the specific and unique demands, the coronavirus has placed on school systems around the globe, Google announced that “advanced Google Meet video-conferencing capabilities” would be made available to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers until Sept. 30 of this year.
As schools struggle to respond to incidents of zoom bombing and various Zoom privacy concerns, the offer from Google may be a welcome one.
But let’s focus on you. If you absolutely must get a piece of this Google Meet gallery-view action but don’t feel like forking over the cash, Google does offer a free trial.
“Get started with a free 14-day trial of G Suite or contact sales,” the company encourages. “After the trial ends, you can pay by credit card, or depending on the location of your business, you may also pay by direct debit.”
Just remember to bail before those 14 days are up, or you’ll end up paying per email address.
Of course, if it’s just a gallery view you’re looking for, there’s no need to jump through all those hoops. Services like Jitsi Meet offer that very same thing, free of charge.