Google, Microsoft and Facebook all announced changes or updates to their video meeting tools in April 2020. These are alternatives to the popular Zoom video chat software.
Video meeting tool Google Meet is now available free of charge for all users. This will be a gradual rollout within the next few weeks. Users must sign in with their Google account, but Meet works entirely in a web browser and does not require downloads first.
Skype Meet Now is a different video meeting tool which does not require a sign-up or installation. A unique Meet Now link can be requested from Skype or a web browser.
Facebook has also announced its new meeting tool – Facebook Messenger Rooms. Invited attendees do not need a Facebook account to attend the video meeting and downloads are not required. Rooms is not end-to-end encrypted. This is in addition to their Facebook Workplace and Facebook Work Groups services.
Google experienced some outages on March 26th 2020 that were tracked on its G Suite Status Dashboard. This included Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs and other services.
Apple, Google, and other tech companies have announced the formation of a new project to set up new common communication standards for smart home devices. Project Connected Home over IP will allow smart home devices from different manufacturers to communicate with one another using an open standard with built-in security.
Google accounts start with 15 GB of total storage spread across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos. Once this limit is exceeded, users have the option of upgrading to a Google One plan.
You may check the total amount of storage currently used for your Google account at google.com/settings/storage. Google also provides instructions on how to free up additional storage.
Google Duo is a high quality video phone call app that works with smartphones, tablets, and computers. It is available using web access with a Google account, and is also available at iTunes and Google Play.
Online help for Google Duo, including setup and making calls, is available here.
Google has announced the release of accessibility apps Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier to help users with hearing issues.
Live Transcribe transcribes live audio in real time using Google’s speech recognition technology. This feature is installed on Pixel 3 smartphones under the Accessibility settings and will soon be available in a limited beta release to users worldwide via the Google Play Store.
Sound Amplifier amplifies microphone sounds while reducing unwanted or distracting background noises and is available now at Google Play.