How to Get Free Conferencing Tools From Google and Microsoft Over the Next Several Months
Coronavirus is a pain in the ass, to put it mildly. We’ve seen big cancellations for large group events and conferences, and your employer may be encouraging you to work from home until it stops. To make this process easier, Google and Microsoft are offering free conferencing tools for a limited time. While it’s a bit of altruism mixed with a pinch of good publicity, free software is free software.
As for Google , the company recently announced that it will offer free access to premium features on Hangouts Meet to anyone using G Suite or G Suite for Education. Specifically, you will receive three temporary updates :
- Larger meetings, up to 250 participants per call
- Live streaming to 100,000 viewers within the domain
- The ability to record appointments and save them to Google Drive
Your company usually needs to be an enterprise-grade G Suite user to have so many people in the meeting that it will cost you (or your company) $ 25 per user per month . If you are the G Suite administrator for your organization, you should ensure that you enable each of these feature updates starting today if available to you , as they are usually disabled by default. You will have until July 1st to use them for free, when I assume your meeting limits will revert to their previous values (instead of Google suddenly increasing your score).
As for Microsoft , the company is offering a six-month trial for the premium version of Microsoft Teams , which is less exciting than its other fast switch. Starting March 10, Microsoft will allow as many users as possible to join the team (using its free version), and all users of the free version of Teams will be allowed to schedule video calls and conferences.
Don’t expect this kind of generosity from services like, say, Slack. While the company is more than happy to host some remote work-related webinars for you , it is undoubtedly gaining all new attention now that the coronavirus is forcing many companies to urge their users to work from home for a while. I am