Google Hangouts/Meet vs Zoom: Which Video Conferencing Platform Is Better?

Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Image Source: zoom.us

The COVID-19 pandemic caught many of us by surprise. Over a relatively short period of time, most of the world went from a regular, outgoing lifestyle to one where self-isolation is the norm. Still, if adapting to a more restricted existence is what it takes to keep our communities, cities, and countries safe and healthy, it’s a small price to pay.

Whether you want to keep in touch with friends and loved ones or you’re trying to figure out the best solution to work from home, deciding on a good video conferencing tool will impact the way you do things.

Image Source: google.com


Fortunately, there is no shortage of video conferencing solutions. Despite this, you’ll want to make sure that your video conferencing app keeps your data and private exchanges safe and secure.

Although both Google Hangouts/Meet (or just Google Meet) and Zoom are viable tools for video calls and video conferences, there are noteworthy differences between the two. Let’s take a closer look at what Hangouts and Zoom offer.

Background on Google Hangouts/Meet and Zoom

Zoom was already a market leader even before the pandemic lockdown. It’s been around for nearly a year and it is the product of a company that focuses solely on the Zoom app. The latter is meant to render mobile collaboration, online meetings, chat, and video conferencing easy for those who have to interact remotely.

In the recent past, Zoom has witnessed an explosive growth in its customer base. In 2019, Zoom went public and, by the end of its IPO, the organization was valued at roughly $16 billion. As a result of the pandemic, the company has reported that app usage has more than doubled, with many educational institutions using it for distance learning.

Image Source: zoom.com


Google, on the other hand, hardly needs an introduction. As one of the biggest technology companies in the world, Google owns the most visited website in the history of the Internet, as well as several other services that are just as popular (e.g. YouTube). Its IPO was in 2004 and, by the end of it, Google had a market cap that exceeded $23 billion.

Although social networking and messaging was never a major priority for the company itself, Google launched their proprietary communication software, Hangouts, back in 2013. Four years later, the team behind Hangouts started to change their application so that enterprises can leverage its features for remote work and organization.

By the end of summer 2020, Google plans on replacing Hangouts with Google Meet entirely, which includes everything that Hangouts offers, as well as several noteworthy upgrades.

Google Hangouts/Meet vs Zoom – Features and Security?

When it comes to features, deciding whether Google Hangouts/Meet or Zoom is better for you is a matter of what you need.

The tools of both platforms are similar and you can test either for free. They include persistent text chat, voice, and video calling, but also recording. However, there are several noteworthy differences between the two.


Image Source: zoom.com


The first thing you have to figure out is the size of your meetings. Zoom offers a reliable platform for big assemblies and you can have up to 100 participants in a conference call on the free plan. Hnagouts, Google Meet’s free version, only allows up to 25 members in a video call at a time and a maximum of 150 for text messaging.

On the entry Google Meet plan (which is roughly 2.5x cheaper than Zoom’s basic one), you can establish a video call with 250 individuals, while Zoom is capped at 100. For recording purposes, Zoom’s Pro gives you access to just 1 GB worth of video recording, while Google has a massive 30 GB. Which leads me to my next point.

Google Hangouts/Meet is more affordable and offers better value than Zoom. The straightforward integration with G Suite, which includes the all-critical G Calendar and Drive, but also Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more, makes it easy recreate your ideal workflow in the digital world. One platform to rule them all.


Image Source: google.com


Zoom does offer integration with Outlook, iCal, and Google Calendar, but why would you want to separate your workflow, rather than re-create it in one single space?

Aside from better features, Google Hangouts/Meet also offers better security than Zoom. Recently, there have been numerous reports of Zoom “bombing” incidents where uninvited participants crashed Zoom meetings with offensive and/or pornographic materials.

In addition, Zoom has been criticized for covertly sending data to Facebook via its iOS app. As of March 2020, a lawsuit is being resolved in the U.S. Federal Court against the company on the basis of disclosing personal information to third parties.

Aside from 24/7 support by phone, email, or chat, Google offers easy administration controls and endpoint management on all its plans. All of your data is encrypted and nothing that belongs to you is traded or sent to another company.


Image Source: google.com


Is Zoom or Google Hangouts Meet Better?

Zoom might be more popular, but the value it offers pales in comparison to Google Meet’s range of affordable tools. The only advantage that Zoom still holds over Google Meet is that you can have more than 250 participants to a single meeting on higher plans. Here’s the thing, though: is this actually useful?

Remote work is challenging enough as is – can any productive conversation actually take place between so many people? Small, flexible teams is always the way to go, even if you hold classes. If you have an upward of 300 people attending your course, why not just record and upload all of your courses on G Drive. There’s plenty of room.

More importantly, you can rest assured that Google will protect your private information and proprietary data. Here’s a table summarizing the main features of both services:

Feature/Service

Google Hangouts Meet

Zoom

Free plan
Yes
Yes
Number of participants
25 to 250
100 to 1000
Price range for paid plans
$6 to $25
$14.99 to $2,000
Platforms
Any browser on any platform
Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, Blackberry
Group messaging
Yes
Yes
Screen sharing
Yes
Yes
Possibility to record calls
Yes
Yes
Storage Space
30GBs to Unlimited
1 GB to 3TB
Special features
24/7 support and integration with G Suite
Polls, whiteboard, Outlook/iCal/Google Calendar integration