Online search giant Google has begun to integrate its video conferencing platform Meet with email platform Gmail to compete with rivals such as Zoom, Cisco Webex Meetings and Microsoft Teams.
The company has begun to roll out the integration for admins and some customers seeking quick access from April 16, while other customers will be able to use it from April 30, according to a blog post by the Mountain view, California-based technology giant.
The move comes at a time when governments of several countries, including India, have advised against the use of popular video conferencing platform Zoom, over safety and privacy concerns.
The integration of Meet with Gmail is being done ahead of schedule as the demand for video conferencing solutions has seen a drastic increase recently, Javier Soltero, vice president of Google, told Reuters.
Video conferencing platforms have seen a massive surge in downloads amid Covid-19 lockdowns across the world, with apps such as Zoom seeing its global users shoot up from 10 million in December last year to more than 200 million daily participants in March.
Meet is different from Google Hangouts in the sense that the former is available only to schools, governments and businesses, while Hangouts is more individual consumer centric.
Other functionalities will also be added to Meet later this month, the publication quoted Soltero as saying. They would include a layout that displays 16 users at once -- similar to Zoom, improved video quality in dim lighting, and reduction in background and ambient noise, he added.
A week ago, Soltero said in a blog post that Meet was supporting close to two million new users daily, and had on-boarded close to 100 million education users in 150 countries so far.
On March 31, Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud, said in a blog post that Meet was surpassing a day-to-day growth of 60% on a daily basis. The platform also waived off fees for the use of advanced features on Meet, such as large video calls, for customers in the education sector for six months, he said.