As the world stacks precaution after precaution on people's everyday lives to protect them from a potential novel coronavirus infection, Google has announced that it will be ready to accommodate the influx of from-home meetings that may need to be organized in the near future. To do that, it has extended enterprise features for Hangouts Meet to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers until July 1.
Those features, announced on the Google Cloud Blog, include increases in the participant allowance of up to 250 people per call, in the live streaming audience cap of up to 100,000 viewers per domain, and the ability to record and save meetings directly to Google Drive. G Suite administrators should have received a message with instructions regarding the free features.
To be clear, this doesn't mean that G Suite users are getting free full upgrades to G Suite Enterprise editions, but what has been temporarily improved should help teams and classes meet more often and professional conferences to be held in some form while the COVID-19 crisis remains relevant.
Because of the relatively unknown nature of this virus, projections for when the outbreak will peak have varied widely. Researchers at the University of Hong Kong predict the number of infections will be highest in early April for Hubei Province — where the outbreak originated — while at Hokkaido University, professors say China could see the worst impacts anytime between late this month through late May.
Ironically, with Hangouts being a Google Cloud service, the upcoming Google Cloud Next conference will be held online in the wake of the crisis. Google I/O is still set to congregate at Mountain View, but its fate could be redetermined as well.
Extended through September
Google has extended the duration of this offer. It no longer expires on July 1, but will last until the end of September 2020. When it's over, you'll be downgraded back to your original G Suite package, but will retain all the recordings of livestreams and meetings in your Drive.
- Google Cloud Blog