The demand for video conferencing continues to surge in our remote-driven world. Picking the best software for remote calls is vital, and there’s no end of competition between two giants, Zoom and Google Meet, each vying for supremacy in the realm of virtual communication.
During and since the pandemic, the need for efficient video conferencing has skyrocketed. Zoom emerged as the go-to platform, capturing the spotlight during those challenging times.
But, Google Meet has positioned itself as a formidable competitor – here to reshape the way we connect, while tying in its conferencing features with the wider Google Workspace suite of tools.
So, who wins out? Let’s look into the features, strengths, and unique offerings of these two contenders, as they vie for dominance.
Google Meet vs Zoom: essential business benefits & drawbacks
Google Meet and Zoom each offer distinct advantages and drawbacks for businesses.
For businesses already immersed in the Google Workspace ecosystem, (i.e. the suite of interconnected and compatible products and services provided by Google), Google Meet presents a logical solution. It also ensures a seamless compatibility between Google Meet and other workspace applications: for example Gmail for email, Google Drive for file storage, Google Calendar for scheduling, and more.
Google Meet also prioritises security, and has a set of measures to ensure the safety and privacy of virtual meetings. The platform utilises encryption in transit and at rest, safeguarding the transmission and storage of data. Unique meeting codes are generated to reduce the risk of unauthorised access, and Google Meet incorporates specialised anti-abuse features to detect potential threats such as crude language.
The downside? To get the best of Google Meet for business, you’ll need to pay for a Google Workspace tier, which begins from £5 per user, per month. But, keep in mind that this will include a business email address, plus the professional tiers of Google Drive, Sheets, Docs and more.
On the other hand, Zoom appeals with its user-friendly design. The platform provides meeting controls that empower hosts to effectively manage participants with tools such as the ability to mute, spotlight specific speakers, manage screen sharing permissions and create breakout rooms for more focused discussions. Zoom’s broad device compatibility also ensures flexibility for users joining from a laptop, phone, tablet or conference room.
Despite its popularity, Zoom has faced scrutiny for security issues in the past, prompting some business users to approach the platform with caution. Zoom currently prioritises security through a range of measures that include end-to-end encryption for protecting sensitive information, meeting password requirements to control access, and user authentication.
Zoom has addressed many concerns as it’s grown since the pandemic first hit. Of course, data protection remains a consideration for any business weighing its options.
Key features head-to-head
Meeting size and duration:
- Google Meet supports up to 100 participants and 60 minutes per meeting on its free plan. The highest paid plan, Enterprise, extends up to 1000 participants, with longer meeting durations up to 24 hours on all paid plans.
- Zoom accommodates up to 100 participants with a 40-minute limit on its free plan, while paid plans offer increased participant limits up to 1000 also on its Enterprise plan, and longer meeting durations up to 30 hours on all paid plans.
Screen sharing and recording:
- Google Meet allows straightforward screen sharing, and paid plans enable recording capabilities that will also conveniently save to your Google Drive.
- Zoom offers screen sharing options and recording on all plans, including free, providing flexibility for various meeting scenarios.
- Google Meet provides a basic collaborative whiteboard feature, allowing participants to sketch and annotate during meetings.
- Zoom offers an interactive whiteboard feature, enabling real-time collaboration with diverse drawing and annotation tools.
Transcriptions and live captions:
- Google Meet provides live captions and allows meeting transcriptions, enhancing accessibility.
- Zoom offers automatic transcription services and supports live captions, contributing to an inclusive meeting environment.
- Google Meet, as mentioned before, is deeply integrated with Google Workspace apps such as Gmail, Drive, and Calendar, enhancing overall productivity.
- Zoom features integrations with a wide array of other third-party tools, including Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, and more, providing flexibility for users.
- Google Meet integrates seamlessly with Google Drive, simplifying file sharing and collaboration on shared documents.
- Zoom facilitates file sharing directly within the platform, streamlining collaboration during meetings (although there is no central Google Drive equivalent).
- Google Meet supports real-time co-editing of documents seamlessly through integration with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
- Zoom also integrates with third-party apps – including Google Workspace. So, while this is not a native feature, it still enables real-time collaboration in a similar way.
Task management and messaging/chat:
- Google Meet has limited native task management features, but integrates with Google Chat for real-time messaging during meetings.
- Zoom offers basic task management through integrations with third-party apps. There’s an effective messaging/chat system for instant communication during calls.
Both Google Meet and Zoom have integrated AI features to stay at the forefront of the artificial intelligence boom.
Google Meet Duet
- Smart suggestions: Google Meet Duet employs AI to provide intelligent suggestions during meetings, streamlining collaboration by anticipating user needs.
- Automated summaries: this feature automatically generates meeting summaries, saving valuable time and ensuring that crucial points are not overlooked.
- Enhanced translations: leveraging AI, Google Meet Duet offers real-time language translations, fostering seamless communication among participants from diverse linguistic backgrounds.
- Google Meet also uses AI for features like setting virtual backgrounds, noise cancellation and low-light correction, ensuring optimal meeting conditions. At present, there are surprisingly few uses for Google’s Duet AI function when it comes to Google Meet, but we expect to see further investment in the near future.
Google Meet Duet is part of the Enterprise Plus plan.
Zoom AI Companion
- Automated meeting notes: the Zoom AI Companion excels in generating automated meeting notes, capturing key discussion points and action items without manual input.
- Intelligent agenda creation: Using AI, this companion tool assists in crafting meeting agendas, ensuring a structured and goal-oriented discussion.
- Enhanced participant insights: Zoom’s AI Companion provides insights into participant engagement, helping hosts gauge the overall meeting dynamics.
- Zoom also incorporates AI for features such as setting virtual backgrounds, automatic meeting transcripts, and intelligent meeting reactions, enhancing the overall user experience.
The Zoom AI Companion is available with Zoom’s Enterprise plan.
Free plans compared
When choosing the right video conferencing solution, it’s useful to understand what all plans offered by both Google Meet and Zoom have to offer – including their free video conferencing plans.
- Google Meet: ideal for businesses needing a bit more flexibility with longer meeting durations and a user-friendly interface, making it suitable for a broad range of scenarios, and allows up to 100 participants with a 60-minute limit on free meetings.
- Zoom: the free plan is suitable for smaller businesses with concise meeting requirements, and allows up to 100 participants with a 40-minute limit on free meetings.
Premium plans: Google Meet costs vs. Zoom costs
Both Google Meet and Zoom offer premium plans with distinctive features and pricing structures – let’s compare their premium video conferencing costs.
- Business Starter: £5 per user, per month up to 100 participants (with a one-year commitment)
- Business Standard: £10 per user, per month up to 150 participants (with a one-year commitment)
- Business Plus: £15 per user, per month up to 500 participants (with a one-year commitment)
- Enterprise: quote available on request, up to 1000 participants
You can also try any premium plan free for 14 days.
- Zoom Pro: £12.99 per user, per month, up to 100 participants
- Zoom Business: £17.49 per user, per month, up to 300 participants
- Zoom Business Plus: quote available on request, up to 300 participants
Zoom has no yearly commitment limit, and you can cancel anytime.
The choice between Google Meet and Zoom is a nuanced one, and depends on the features or price points that matter most to you. Google Meet is pretty much the nailed-on choice for any business in the Google Workspace fold. If you’re up and running with Gmail for Business, plus Google Drive, Sheets, Slides and more, then Google Meet is going to be your go-to for video calls with your team members and external guests.
But, Zoom has that killer familiarity for so many of us who worked through the pandemic, and it continues to invest in new features to build on that stratospheric period of growth. For business users, Zoom’s tiered plans ensure flexibility and diverse functionalities, making it a better option for those who prefer versatility.
The key lies in aligning your choice with the specific needs of your business, your budget, and how instant video communication plays into your future plans for the business – as both platforms excel in enhancing video conferencing and offer unique strengths to meet the colourful and varied demands of a modern workforce.