Meeting with colleagues, clients, and vendors has always been a part of work. However, due to COVID-19, working from home has become the new norm, and meeting via video conferencing has become a critical part of the workday.
This transition of the workspace from the office to online has increased demand for support from IT to increase security, manage collaboration, and diagnose technical issues. Out of the many video conferencing software platforms popularized due to the pandemic, two of the most prominent are Google Meet and Zoom.
Since its launch, the Zoom platform has stood apart from competitors due to its mobile-friendly experience, allowing the company to upstage established conferencing platforms and experience significant growth following its release in 2013. The COVID-19 outbreak has brought in even more users, furthering the success of the Zoom platform.
Before COVID-19, Google Meet was known as Google Hangouts. An article published early this April reports Google Meet surpassed a milestone of two million new users every day. This may be in part due to Google’s decision to roll out advanced video conferencing capabilities to all Google Workspace (previously known as G Suite) customers.
The sudden demand for video conferencing at a massive scale has led to numerous updates from both Google and Zoom, in turn leading to the topic of this blog – given the most recent updates, which platform is the best for your company and end-users? To answer this question, we’ll evaluate the most in-demand features.
Features Face-Off: Key Capabilities for End Users
Breakout Rooms and Host Controls
Breakout rooms allow larger conference calls to split into smaller focus groups. With Zoom, users with host controls can split participants into up to 50 separate sessions, with the option of organizing people manually or automatically. Zoom also provides participants the option to choose their breakout rooms, while the host has the freedom to jump into any breakout room of their choice.
Unlike Zoom, Google Meet does not provide a native breakout room function. For users wishing to simulate breakout rooms, they must create individual meetings with corresponding links sent to all participants. Google Meet users lack the host group management controls provided through the Zoom breakout rooms feature; this experience poses a problem for IT support since they must monitor a virtual workspace with lessened security due to users attempting to simulate breakout rooms.
Record to Cloud
For workspaces with employees around the world, it may be difficult or even impossible to have everyone attend a real-time virtual meeting. Because of this, the ability to record meetings is crucial to ensuring that everyone stays in the know.
Cloud recording is automatically enabled for Zoom users on the paid subscription plan. When users choose to record a meeting, they have the option to record to the cloud. This ensures that video, audio, chat, and a transcript of the audio are all recorded onto a Zoom cloud server, with the content available to download to a computer or stream to a browser later.
Google Meet also provides a cloud recording feature through Google Drive, both under the umbrella of Google Workspace. For users on a subscription plan, the video, audio, and chat of recorded meetings can be automatically saved to their Meet Recordings folder in their Google Drive. While Zoom users can record meetings from both desktop and mobile, recording in Google Meet is currently limited to the desktop client version of the platform.
When work happens almost entirely on the computer, there are bound to be technical difficulties. Zoom provides users with real-time meeting statistics, allowing them to view diagnostic information while in a meeting. The information provided allows users to determine whether any issues they are experiencing are caused by their network, audio, or video.
For IT administrators, this function can be a huge time saver. Instead of calling IT for every single issue, users can self-diagnose and resolve simple issues independently. The only prerequisite to using this diagnose function is having the Zoom Desktop client, which is a downloadable application used to participate in Zoom meetings.
On the contrary, Google Meet does not provide real-time meeting analytics. To diagnose issues experienced in a call, users and IT teams must take extra steps to troubleshoot issues themselves. Although several third-party platforms have been created in response to the lack of this feature, Google Meet currently lacks a native diagnostics feature.
Platform integrations simplify the disorganization caused by the abundance of applications used in the virtual workspace. Zoom provides integration capabilities with a wide range of applications, allowing instant access to Zoom through existing solutions. Zoom meetings can be scheduled through apps such as Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, and Workplace from Facebook. Users can also seamlessly share content through Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox. Due to the popularity of the Zoom platform, there are also numerous third-party applications intentionally designed to encourage a more productive and seamless Zoom experience through added capabilities.
Google Meet is simply no match for Zoom in the integration space. Compared to Zoom’s integration capabilities with over 20 applications, Google Meet does not provide or highlight integrations with third-party applications. Although Google Meet is fully integrated with Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) features like Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive, Meet is limited when it comes to native integrations with third-party applications.
Google Meet does provide some interoperability between video conferencing platforms. This allows users of third-party video conferencing systems to join a Google Meet conference on select video conferencing platforms of their choice. This experience, however, is nowhere near as seamless as Zoom’s integration options. To allow interoperability with third-party conferencing platforms, Google Meet uses the Pexip Infinity Gateway, which requires an additional subscription plan. Administrators must download this external partner product and properly configure it with Google Meet in order to use this function.
Security Skirmish: Data Privacy and Encryption
Zoom has experienced several issues regarding security. Although Zoom most recently added two-factor authentication to improve its security, there are still data privacy issues that may result in difficulties for those in charge of IT support. To address this, Zoom recently acquired Keybase, a company that utilizes deep encryption and security expertise to ensure secure messaging and file-sharing.
In the recent Zoom 5.0 release, the platform can support the real-time encryption of content using industry-standard AES-GCM with 256-bit keys; these keys are generated by Zoom’s servers. Zoom also provides single sign-on (Unified Login) with commonly used applications like Facebook, Microsoft, and Google, allowing users to use their existing login information for a more secure login process across different platforms. Enabling single sign-on is just one of the many Zoom security settings IT can take advantage of.
Google Meet protects user privacy by allowing users control over their data; customers own their data, not Google. Data transferred through Google Meet is encrypted while recordings stored in Google Drive are also encrypted by default.
The Google Meet product also undergoes independent verification of its security, privacy, and compliance controls, obtaining certifications and audit reports according to global standards. Google Meet’s security standards is particularly relevant to those in charge of IT administration. Meet adheres to security standards from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS), and Secure Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP).
Administration Confrontation: IT Considerations and Pricing
In addition to its free plan best suited for personal use, Zoom provides three paid plans based on the size of a company. At $149.90 per license per year, their Pro Plan is recommended for small teams. The plan provides meetings of up to 100 participants, unlimited group meetings, social media streaming, and 1 GB of Cloud Recording.
For companies wishing for slightly more capabilities, the Zoom Business Plan (starting at 10 licenses for $1,999 per year) includes meetings of up to 300 participants, single sign-on, cloud recording transcripts, managed domains, an admin portal, and company branding.
Their most comprehensive Enterprise Plan, starting at 100 licenses for $19,990 per year, includes meetings of up to 500 participants, unlimited cloud storage, an admin portal, a dedicated customer success manager, and transcription services. For IT administration, the Business and Enterprise Plans may be most suitable due to the inclusion of user management, an admin portal, and a single sign-on (SSO).
Google Meet provides two paid plans in addition to their most basic free option. Regarding security, all options of their plan include anti-abuse features, encryption in transit and at rest, and 2-step verification. The Google Workspace Essentials plan is priced at $8 per active user per month. This plan provides an alert center function along with 24/7 standard support in multiple languages.
For their most expensive plan, Google Workspace Enterprise, licensed members can live stream in-domain and record meetings to a Google Drive. Additionally, for IT administrators, this plan includes security dashboards, security health, investigation tools, Data Loss Prevention (DLP) for Google Drive, and endpoint management.
How to Choose the Best Video Conferencing Solution for Your Business
Although both platforms have their individual strengths, the best solution ultimately depends on what you are seeking in a video conferencing platform. Since Google Meet is relatively new to the virtual conferencing space, it does not have the extensive features that Zoom has developed in its past few years. Overall, Zoom is more comprehensive as a platform and is constantly releasing new features and adding third-party platforms to its list of integrations.
Because of this, Zoom may be more suitable for enterprises and other large organizations seeking a secure platform to host frequent conferences in their virtual workspace. Conversely, Google Meet may be a better option for organizations already standardized in Google Workspaces or requiring less frequent conferences that occur at a smaller scale.
If your organization is considering moving to a new video conferencing solution, whether that be Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex Teams, or another platform, Unify Square is here to help. We recognize that it’s no small task for IT to migrate from one communication platform to another and it can be even more difficult to support a positive employee experience after a transition. We can help you manage your company’s video conferencing experience by identifying security risks, troubleshooting room system issues, and unearthing actionable insights with our PowerSuite software.