Google said in a blog post that it would roll out free access to advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally as the company pitches its remote work tools as an option for companies looking to let employees work from home.
Chief executive Sundar Pichai announced the initiative in a tweet on Tuesday.
We want to help businesses and schools impacted by COVID-19 stay connected: starting this week, we'll roll out free access to our advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities through July 1, 2020 to all G Suite customers globally. https://t.co/OWWF7s5jjR
— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) March 3, 2020
"As more employees, educators, and students work remotely in response to the spread of COVID-19, we want to do our part to help them stay connected and productive," the company wrote in its post. "And, as more businesses adjust their work-from-home policies and adopt reduced travel plans in response to COVID-19, we're helping to ensure that all globally distributed teams can still reliably meet face to face, even if employees are not in the same location."
Google's move comes as some of the largest industry conferences and events around the world are cancelling due to fears of the spreading new coronavirus, COVID-19. Major canceled events include: GSMA’s Mobile World Congress and Facebook’s F8 conference, along with the Geneva Motor Show and the Game Developers Conference.
It's not just conferences that are closing their doors. Companies are also doing everything they can to encourage remote work. Twitter has encouraged its workers to operate remotely, and they're not alone. Stripe, Slack, Square and others are all urging their employees to not come in to the office.
Google's pitch to companies and educational institutions during the trial is free access for capabilities, including for larger meetings of up to 250 participants per-call; live-streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain; and the ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive.
Google is enabling all of its customers to use the enterprise functionality for no additional cost until July 1, the company said in a statement.
"We’re committed to supporting our users and customers during this challenging time, and are continuing to scale our infrastructure to support greater Hangouts Meet demand, ensuring streamlined, reliable access to the service throughout this period."
The company already has one happy customer for its services in Jack Dorsey and Twitter. The embattled chief executive wrote in a tweet, "We just held our first fully virtual Twitter global all-hands using @Google Meet and @SlackHQ."
We just held our first fully virtual Twitter global all-hands using @Google Meet and @SlackHQ. We had folks all around the world working from home, and some in our offices. Worked flawlessly, and enabled some things that weren’t possible before. Thanks Google and Slack! https://t.co/qD3d09pluZ
— jack 🌍🌏🌎 (@jack) March 3, 2020