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Zoom vs Google Meet: How do the free versions compare?

Zoom will forever be associated with the coronavirus lockdown, having exploded into the public consciousness after the introduction of social distancing measures. But a series of missteps has turned some Zoom users away, many of whom may now be considering Google Meet, which recently introduced a free tier, for all of their video calling needs.

Here’s how the free versions of Zoom and Google Meet compare.

Zoom vs Google Meet time limit

Video calls made through Google Meet currently have a 24-hour time limit, though that will be cut down to 60 minutes from October 1.

Zoom, meanwhile, imposes a 40-minute limit on free video calls, which isn’t bad, but it can be annoying having to hang up and start up again if your quizzing time is cut short.

Zoom vs Google Meet participants

Both Zoom and Google Meet allow you to hold group video calls with up to 100 people.

Zoom, however, lets you see up to 49 people on your screen at once, while Google Meet lets you see up to 16 of them. What’s more important to you: quantity or thumbnail size?

Zoom vs Google Meet security

Google briefly flirted with the idea of buying Zoom, according to The Information, but in its campaign to challenge it for video calling supremacy, it’s been talking up Google Meet’s security and privacy credentials.

To make it difficult for trolls to hijack Meet calls, it uses meeting IDs that are 25 characters long, and only allows people to join a meeting up to 15 minutes in advance, thereby “reducing the window in which a brute force attack can even be attempted”.

Furthermore, anyone who tries to join a meeting without an invitation has to request entry.

Both Zoom and Google Meet calls are encrypted, but neither of the two services use end-to-end-encryption. This means there’s no guarantee that the content of Zoom or Google Meet calls will be protected from the companies themselves. WhatsApp does offer end-to-end encryption for calls.

Related: How to video call on WhatsApp

Security and transparency haven’t exactly been Zoom’s forte.

Zoombombing has been a particularly nasty trend, but it has also emerged that Zoom had falsely been claiming that Zoom video meetings were end-to-end encrypted, and the iOS version of the Zoom app was found to have been sending analytical data to Facebook without users’ consent.

In early April, Zoom made a pledge to clean up its image, and the company has since stopped secretly shovelling users’ data to Facebook, introduced tighter meeting controls to try to ward off Zoombombers, and stopped falsely claiming end-to-end encryption.

Zoom vs Google Meet features

Understandably, both Google Meet and Zoom reserve their widest feature sets for paying customers, but free users can still take advantage of the following handy features:

Google Meet


But one of the biggest advantages Google Meet has over Zoom is its integration with other popular Google products. For instance, you can easily schedule Google Meet calls right from Google Calendar, and you can create and join calls directly from your Gmail inbox too.

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