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In 2019 most people didn’t know about Zoom. Now it’s an integral part of human life.
Google has, to put it mildly, noticed this. They’re throwing every bit of tech they have at their video conferencing app called Google Meet. The result is a handful of features that Zoom doesn’t offer. We’re talking about using AI to offer things like real-time captions and compensation for poor lighting conditions.
To be clear: we use Zoom at Zapier every day. It’s reliable, and has everything a 350-person team like ours needs. But that doesn’t mean other apps aren’t offering anything interesting. Here’s a quick outline of Google Meet features that Zoom doesn’t offer.
Google Meet’s interface has a prominent captions button. Click it, and you’ll see a transcript of every word that’s said. It’s basically magic.
Google has been refining its voice transcription for over a decade in services like Google Voice and Google Assistant, which gives them a huge head start here. The captions aren’t perfectly accurate, but in our tests (in English with North American speakers), it was surprisingly close. And there’s a real-time profanity filter, which if nothing else is just fun to play with.
Zoom offers a closed-captioning system, but someone has to manually type the captions. That’s…something. But it’s not really comparable.
The software photography features on Google’s Pixel phones are some of the best out there, particularly the low-light mode. Seriously: I’ve had better luck taking low-light photos with my phone than I do with a nice camera.
Google puts this same tech to work in Meet, which is great for late-night meetings or just rooms with bad lighting (which, let’s face it, is every room in your house). I tried it out and think it works pretty well. Here’s Google’s demo:
As of right now, this feature is only offered on mobile devices, though Google says it will show up on computers eventually.
There’s nothing worse than logging into a call, people saying hello, and not being able to respond because you haven’t had a chance to test your settings yet. Google Meet offers a landing page to test audio and video before you join a call, and I find it really handy. Zoom offers something similar, but I’m going to be honest: I can’t figure out how to make it show up consistently. It seems like your settings, and the settings of the meeting host, need to be aligned in a way that I can’t figure out. It’s not a feature Zoom doesn’t have, but I like that Google Meet defaults to this.
Start a meeting by typing “meet.new” in your browser
This one’s a bit of a gimmick, sure, but it’s convenient. You can start a new meeting by opening a new tab in your browser and typing
meet.new. It’s the fastest way we’ve find to start a meeting in any video conferencing service.
This tip actually works for a bunch of Google apps:
docs.new creates a new Google Doc,
forms.new creates a new Google Form,
sheets.new creates a new Google Sheets spreadsheet, and
slides.new creates a new Google Slides presentation.
Zoom is a desktop app that you install; Google Meet runs in your browser. You can argue about the relative merits of both approaches, and to be honest, I slightly prefer desktop apps in most cases. But Google Meet running in the browser means that third-party extensions can add features.
- Tactiq compiles your captions and creates a transcript of any meeting.
- Nod adds emoji reactions to your calls.
- Google Meet Call Timer adds a timer. To your Google Meet calls. Like it says.
These are all third-party tools and could break if Google makes changes. But it’s nice to have flexibility.
There’s a good chance you’re already paying for it
Google Meet is included with all G Suite plans. If your company is already paying for Gmail and Google Drive, you already have the full version of Google Meet. That alone makes Meet worth checking out, especially if you’re using the free version of Zoom and need fewer limitations.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t use Zoom. Lots of paying G Suite customers pay for Zoom despite having access to Meet—including us at Zapier—and there are reasons for that. But it’s good to know about your options.
Meetings are just different on a video call—but that doesn’t mean they have to be less effective. Here are 7 tips for running effective remote meetings.
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