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Google has made its Google Meet video conferencing app available for every Google account for free until the end of September. 

After the end of September, meetings will be limited to 60 minutes (although Google says it won’t enforce this time limit until after 30 September due to the current global situation).

Anybody with a Google Account can start or join a meeting at meet.google.com or using the iOS or Android apps.

You can also add Google Meet to any scheduled Google Calendar event or meeting and start meetings directly from there. 

On desktop, Google Meet works entirely in your browser so no additional software needs to be installed if you use Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Microsoft Edge.

In Google Meet, all data is encrypted between the client and Google for video meetings on a web browser, on the Android and iOS apps, and in meeting rooms with Google meeting room hardware. Each meeting has a unique encryption key and Google Meet’s security controls are turned on by default.

How to start a video meeting using Google Meet

Anybody with a Google Account can start a meeting. If you don’t have one, it’s easy to create one. You’ll probably already have one – especially if you have a Gmail account. 

If you are using a computer, start a video meeting by heading to meet.google.com in your web browser, or click on Google Meet in Gmail or your Google Calendar. If you are using a phone or tablet, download the Google Meet App.

  1. In Google Meet, click the Join or start a meeting
  2. Choose a nickname for your meeting or leave the field blank and use the 10-letter meeting ID that’s generated for you. Click Continue.
  3. Share your meeting nickname or meeting ID with participants. 

How to schedule a video meeting using Google Calendar

  1. In Google Calendar, click Create to start a new calendar entry and invite people to your video meeting
  2. Choose the option to Add video conferencing. You can also edit the auto-generated 10-letter meeting ID and use your own meeting nickname.
  3. Send the calendar invite to your meeting participant.

Note that people who weren’t on your original calendar invite can only join the video meeting 15 minutes in advance and need to be admitted by the host – it’s so people can’t randomly join a meeting.  

How to start a video meeting from Gmail 

  1. In the Gmail sidebar, click Start a meeting and Join now.
  2. Add participants to your video meeting by:
  3. Click on Copy joining info to share the meeting code with them
  4. Alternatively, select Add people and send them an invitation email.

Change your Google Meet meeting view to gallery/tiled mode

On macOS or Windows, you can choose the Google Meet layout that you like best – otherwise, Google Meet with auto-switch to display the active participant (the person speaking or presenting). 

Click the icon in the lower-right corner of the screen and click More > Change layout. Here are the different views available with an explanation for each. 

Auto – enable Meet to choose the layout for you.

Tiled – like Zoom’s Gallery View, this shows up to 16 people when there is no presentation. Move your mouse to see each participant’s name. Presentations appear in a large tile, with the most active participants to the side. If someone joins after the meeting starts, their image will be at the bottom of the screen.

Spotlight – the presentation, active speaker, or pinned feed fills the window.

Sidebar – see the active speaker or presentation with additional participants on the side.

Share your screen during your Google Meet

  1. Go to the lower right corner and select Show my screen.
  2. Choose if you will share Your Entire screen, A Window, or a Chrome tab 
    Lastly, click on Share.
  3. To stop sharing your screen. simply click Stop sharing screen.

If you’re showing a Google document, Slides or a web page, choose Select a Chrome tab. With this, you can also choose to share your audio as well, great if you want to show a YouTube video or similar.

Pin, mute or remove participants from your video meeting

Only meeting creators and owners can mute or remove other participants.

Note that you can click a participant’s image to pin them to the screen. You can select one participant to mute, pin, or remove.  

To pin the video of someone as the main video you’re seeing, go to the miniature image of that particular person and click the pin icon. 

Mute participants

Is there an echo or background noise? If you’re the owner of the call, you can silence the microphone of other participants by hovering your cursor over the volume icon and click on Silence.

To remove participants

Only the creator or owner of the video call can remove a participant of the call.

  1. Go to the upper right corner of the screen and find the option People.
  2. Hover the cursor over the person you want to remove and then click on the back arrow.
  3. Then click Remove. 

Use meeting subtitles

The subtitle function is similar to that available on other apps like Skype and means you can make the conversation appear in writing on your screen in real-time so it’s easier to follow what’s being said during video calls. It’s only available in English

To activate it, go to the lower right corner of Meet and click Turn on Captions. 

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