My team and I at Moor Insights & Strategy use G Suite, Google Hangouts and Meet (now called Google Meet), daily. As all of our employees and contractors work from home or remotely, it is one of the main solutions we use to interact, before and during the COVID-19 lock.
While many of us in the technology field take it for granted, most companies, governments and schools have not had to work remotely or remotely until now. The use of G Suite, Meet and other video call solutions has increased dramatically due to the coronavirus and everyone who needs WFH. Along with the rest of the Google G Suite portfolio, Google Meet has seen a plethora of improvements over the many years that it exists.
Javier Soltero, general manager and vice president of G Suite at Google, wrote an interesting post about the status of G Suite and Meet. According to Soltero, the company surpassed a new milestone of more than 2 million new users connecting to Google Meet every day. Let it sink for a second. In addition, Google Meet users are spending 2 billion minutes or 3,800 years on Meet in a single day. This is an incredible milestone for Google Meet, and I would like to discuss how Google made it possible and the progress that Google has made with Meet to make it one of the most secure and reliable video calling solutions for businesses and consumers.
Google Meet cloud-based infrastructure
Google Meet, as part of the G Suite, runs on what I consider Google’s native cloud-safe infrastructure to be. As Google continues to develop the security and reliability of the Google Cloud Platform (GCP), G Suite adapts to it. I believe that the G Suite benefits from GCPs defense in depth approach, including a specifically created infrastructure, a hardware stack controlled by Google, a private encrypted global network, layered data center security, internal privacy and security expertise, and a robust security audit / certification program. As an enterprise-grade video call solution, Google Meet must have an impressive level of reliability and security due to its cloud-based infrastructure. Google says it also has SREs (Site Reliability Engineers), trained to find and resolve potential problems with Google Cloud Services, such as Meet, before they arise and, in the event of an outage, recover as quickly as possible. I could imagine that these SREs were incredibly busy during the week that everyone moved from the office to WFH.
Unlike some video call solutions, Google Meet seems capable of handling the massive influx of users during COVID-19. Google did not issue specific reliability numbers, but considering the 2 million New Commercial per day, I must at least guarantee its massive scalability. Google Cloud relies on large amounts of computing and storage hardware to provide services like Meet. Google says that since much of this hardware is proprietary, it can predict the ability to move many months forward to grow ahead of demand. I think this also indicates that Google built it in advance, as delivery times for the new hardware are at least 90 days outside of China.
Google’s global infrastructure obviously allowed Meet to scale efficiently with demand from COVID-19. Another milestone recently reached by Google is surpassing 6 million paying companies and 2 billion active users. Because of COVID-19, Meet’s daily growth has exceeded 60%. As a result, Meet’s daily use is more than 25 times what it was in January.
security and privacy
A critical part of having a video calling solution is ensuring the privacy and security of your users. Zoom, a competing video calling solution at the enterprise level, has been criticized for failing to take steps to ensure the privacy and security of its users. In summary, I believe you have been dishonest about your encryption, compromised the privacy of your users, allowed breaches in private meetings, among other things you can read about on here. Along with G Suite’s cloud-based security, as mentioned above, Google has taken steps to ensure the privacy and security of Google Meet.
To prevent something like “zoombombing” from happening to Google Meet, it has security controls enabled by default. If this is not an obvious “feature” that all video call solutions should have by default, maybe I should start my own video call solution. When using a video call service, you assume that you have the highest level of security to begin with.
Google also launched several educational features that make it easier for teachers and classrooms to use Meet as their video call solution during COVID-19. Here is the list of new classroom features from Google:
- Only meeting creators and calendar owners can silence or remove other participants.
- Only meeting creators and calendar owners can approve requests for participation made by external participants.
- Meeting participants cannot participate in dubbed meetings again after the final participant leaves.
I believe that all of these resources are to ensure the safety of teachers and students when using Meet. They prevent the student from disturbing and compromising the video call and give teachers control of the virtual classroom.
Google also says it makes it difficult to program brute-force meeting IDs using 10-character and 25-character codes in a set. This is so that meetings have a rarer ID, and it’s not easy for hackers to guess a meeting’s ID. Even if a hacker guesses the correct ID for a meeting correctly, Google designed it so that external participants need a calendar invitation, are invited by domain participants, or request and are accepted by the video host.
Google Meet does not require the user to download or install any software or plug-ins for browsers or smartphones and can be used directly in the browser. All data is also encrypted and supports multiple two-step verification options. It is a feature that needs to be activated and can use phone and hardware-based security keys and the Google Prompt. Google uses 2-step verification options for other G Suite solutions, as if you were connected to a new computer with Gmail. I use Google 2-step verification for many of my devices. Google also says that users can sign up for their Advanced protection program (APP) to prevent phishing and hijacking accounts for higher risk accounts.
While Google’s consumer arm uses PII for advertising, the company is very clear that it doesn’t do any of that for school and business accounts. I believe the company since, unlike Facebook and Zoom, it hasn’t spoiled privacy many times.
In the future, I believe it will be important for Google to add end-to-end encryption options, some kind of hybrid Meet solution, leveraging Anthos, and 256-bit encryption.
Google has created a video call solution that is worth using at all levels. I believe it has privacy, security, scalability and reliability for most cases, including business, government, healthcare and education. It benefits from a massive cloud-based infrastructure and a defense-in-depth approach that the entire G Suite benefits from. It is scalable, depending on the needs of the network and seems to have had no problems in increasing the demand for COVID-19.
We heard a lot recently about what not to do with Zoom. It’s always good to know when a company does something right and Google has reached incredible milestones with its Meet video call solution. As Google continues to improve Meet and add new features, I will use it.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article.
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