Tech

Zoom vs Google Meet: Which one is better for meetings?

Because video calls aren't going away anytime soon

Credit: Getty Images/ LeoPatrizi

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As many of us are still working from home in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, employers are using alternative ways to keep communication open between employees spread out across the country.

While working from home isn’t the same as sitting around the office conference table, you can still get regular face time with your colleagues by using programs like Zoom and Google Meet. While there are other video chatting services out there, we’re pitting these two popular platforms against one another to find out which one you should use, as well as offering some ideas for compatible hardware to get the most from your online office.

Google Meet vs. Zoom

You’ve no doubt heard of or used Google Meet or Zoom at least once over the last several months. These two services are fairly similar, but there are some key differences that set them apart. Before we take a deep dive, it's worth noting that Google Meet was previously part of Hangouts Meet. Google announced the new video chatting service at the end of April, which includes upgrades like low-light mode, a tiled layout that lets you see up to 16 people at a time, and more new features.

Overall, Zoom offers more features and services, and it allows for more users in meetings than Google Meet. But there’s plenty to love about Google Meet, too, including integration with Skype, free storage on Google Docs, and more. Here's our full break down.

Pricing and plan options

Zoom call
Credit: Zoom

Both Google Meet and Zoom (pictured) offer a Brady Bunch-style view of others on the call.

Both Google Meet and Zoom offer a variety of video chatting plans at different price points, depending on the needs of your team. Here’s an overview of how each plan works:

The basic Zoom plan is free for up to 100 people. There is a 40-minute time limit on meetings with a basic plan, but you can host as many meetings as you want. Screen sharing, HD video (up to 720p), and other web conferencing features are included with this no-cost Zoom plan.

Google Meet offers a similar no-cost plan with meetings up to 60 minutes and a maximum of 100 participants. Through Sept. 30, however, Google is waiving the one-hour limit on free plans and increasing the meeting time limit from one hour to 24 hours (though we hope you aren’t in any meeting for that long). Screen sharing, closed captions (English only), 15 GB of Google Drive storage per user, and a few other features are offered with Google Meet’s free plan.

Zoom Pro

Zoom’s Pro plan, which is ideal for small teams (although you can have up to 100 people in the call with this plan), costs $14.99 a month for up to nine hosts. It includes all of the features from the basic plan, but offers longer meeting times (up to 24 hours), advanced meeting controls, and the option to record meetings in the Zoom Cloud (where they can be accessed later).

Google G Suite Essentials

Google G Suite Essentials plan is similar to Zoom's Pro option but comes with longer meeting times and space for more participants at a better price. The Essentials plan comes with meeting times up to 300 hours and as many as 150 participants. Attendees can join from a U.S. or international dial-in phone number. Google is waiving the fees for this plan through Sept. 30, 2020, but will begin charging $10 a month per active user starting on Oct. 1.

Zoom Business

Next up is Zoom's Business plan for small and medium-sized companies. You get all of the features of Zoom Pro, plus a higher limit of up to 300 participants, company branding on the meeting page, vanity URLs, and more for $19.99 a month per host.

Zoom Enterprise

Zoom's Enterprise plan works best for large companies and allows for up to 500 people to join a video call. There's also Zoom's Enterprise Plus option that includes up to 1,000 users to join at once. The Enterprise plan starts at $19.99 per month for each host.

Google G Suite Enterprise Essentials

The G Suite Enterprise Essentials, which includes up to 250 users per meeting, is free through the end of September. Starting Oct. 1, the Enterprise Essentials plan will cost $20 per active user. Currently, this plan includes all of the features from the Free and Essentials plan, but with the added benefit of having meetings recorded and saved to Google Drive. Intelligent noise cancellation and live streaming in-domain for up to 100,000 viewers are coming soon. Both Google and Zoom offer online support and customer service options to help

Additional features

Google meet
Credit: Google

Google Meet is a video conferencing service for personal or business use.

Other software integrations

All three Google Meet plans include access to Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms, and come with free Google Drive storage for each user. G Suite Essentials and Enterprise plans also include shared drives and a Drive File Stream.

Zoom integrates with other software and platforms like Google Calendar, Skype, and Microsoft Office.

Privacy concerns

“Zoom bombing” made headlines earlier this year. However, while no software is foolproof, both Google Meet and Zoom have security and privacy measures in place to help protect your privacy. Features like encryption for video calls, anti-abuse measures like meeting codes to prevent outside people from joining the call, and more.

Compatible hardware for Zoom and Google Meet

meeting owl
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The Owl can help remote employees feel more integral to the room.

Zoom and Google Meet can be accessed on any Windows, Android, iOS, or Mac operating systems. That said, having the right tech when working remotely is essential to productivity at your home office.

If you're looking to save money, an affordable laptop under $200, like the HP Chromebook 11-v031nr, comes with a built-in high-definition camera and long battery life.

Although some employees are returning to the office, many companies will have employees who continue to work from home as things open back up. Businesses might consider a 360-degree video conferencing camera like the Meeting Owl to make everyone in the conference room visible to those at home. The Owl Cam can be used with Google Meet and Zoom.

Get the Owl Labs Meeting Owl on Amazon for $799.99

Get the HP Chromebook 11-v031nr at Target for $199.99

So which service should you use?

Both Google Meet and Zoom are easy-to-use video chatting platforms for groups, but the decision really boils down to the size of your business and what kind of features you're hoping to incorporate into team meetings.

Zoom comes with a lot of bells and whistles that can be useful, but it’s hard to overlook the value of Google Meet, where all G Suite plans are free until Sept. 30. But, if you have a large team (more than 250 people), Zoom is likely going to be your best bet, since it accommodates more users per meeting than Google.

Sign up for Zoom

Sign up for Google Meet

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