Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Google Meet





Goodbye Hangouts

For the last year, there has been much discussion about the fate of Google Hangouts. Google announced the launch of Allo and Duo as messaging and video conference apps that would be available on mobile devices in the consumer market. Questions of what would happen to Hangouts flooded the Google world. It was then announced that Hangouts would remain for enterprise accounts (GSuite for Education). This was great. My teachers and staff have been using Hangouts all year. This has been especially helpful for my elementary teachers as they often do grade-level collaboration via Hangouts so that they can all meet at 3:00, finish at 3:30, and never leave the comfort of their classroom. 

Change is brewing

In February, a new player emerged: Google Meet. Hangouts are still in existence and still being used. However, Google Meet is now available. It even appears very similar to Google Hangouts. Much of the same functions and interface are there. You can still screen-share and present to the whole audience. You can still send invitations via Google Calendar. You can still remove people that are being problematic. You can still mute your microphone or camera if necessary. It is almost exactly the same as Google Hangouts. 

What is different is performance. Google Meet is to be able to handle more attendees (30 in enterprise accounts) and provide better video/audio quality. It also is not available for the consumer market to launch meetings. They can join existing GSuite customers, but cannot launch their own Meet session. A link is simply provided via Google Calendar or the meeting organizer can copy the link to the session and email/message it to participants. It is also supposed to allow individuals to call in using their phones, but I do not see that option in my GSuite account during the time of this post. (I will be sure to revisit when it is available.)

For users on mobile devices (iPad, iPhone, Android, etc.), they will need to download the appropriate app to participate in a Meet session. You can download it for iOS here. The download for Android is available by clicking here. If your participants do not have the necessary apps, it will prompt them to download when they click on the Google Meet link provided at the session start in Calendar.

With the changes in performance and accessibility, Meet would provide a great opportunity to hold online conferences with parents/community members. With 30 participants at a time, the majority of your class could have parents sign up for an online informational meeting. How exciting is that?!?

GSuite change

Google Meet needs to be enabled for your school district. You can tell immediately if it is available by visiting Google Calendar. When you create an event, your video meeting details will say, "Joining info" instead. It will also state that it will be added once you save the event. Then when you enter the event again, the joining info will have a meet.google.com address. See below: 




What's in the video?

I created a video covering much of the topic of Google Meet. If it needs to be enabled, I included a small section showing how to enable it for your school's domain. That portion can be sent to your technology department to enable if necessary. I also quickly cover how to create an event and participate using Google Meet. If you have ever used Google Hangouts, it will not be a difficult transition. If this is brand new to you, I'd be happy to do a test run on Google Meet. Let me know if there is interest and I will schedule a practice event!