Videoconferencing solutions have proved more popular than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdowns, with Zoom being the go-to platform despite its security issues. Google is now looking to get into the action, and has announced an expansion of access to the Google Meet platform.

Previously Google Meet was only available to education and enterprise customers with a G Suite account, but now it is freely available to all users with access to a Google account.

Along with this unfettered access, Google Meet also caters for up to 100 people on a videoconference, with no limits on time, as is the case with the free version of Zoom.

That unlimited time status may change, however, with meeting lengths potentially restricted to 60 minutes after 30th September. For now though, the parameters for using the videoconferencing tool are quite open.

“Starting in early May, anyone with an email address can sign up for Meet and enjoy many of the same features available to our business and education users, such as simple scheduling and screen sharing, real-time captions, and layouts that adapt to your preference, including an expanded tiled view,” writes Javier Soltero, VP and GM for G Suite in a blog post about the announcement.

Google has not set a specific date in May for the platform to open up its access to everyone, but those interested in using the service, can register to be notified here.

Along with the free access, earlier this month, Soltero confirmed that Google Meet would be working to add more Zoom-like features to its platform, such as adding up to 16 people in a gallery view. Zoom by contrast, has far more at 49, so there is some work for Google to do on that front.

Still, given some of the security concerns surrounding Zoom, and a number of companies banning its use in the business setup, Google Meet will likely prove a more tempting offering.

Whether consumers want to make the shift too, remains to be seen, but either way social distancing, working from home and lockdowns, are forcing Google to give its collaboration apps an overhaul.