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Alternative to Zoom - Meet

Google has stepped up to the Zoom mess by opening Google Meet as a free alternative video meeting service. Normally it is available only as part of the G-Suite for paying enterprise users. For details see the blog post Google Meet premium video meetings—free for everyone.

The service itself is live at meet.google.com. For the free public version all users must log in with a Google (Gmail) account, and meetings are limited to 100 participants. (G-Suite users can get up to 250, and can invite non-members into meetings.) 

I ran a 30 minute two-party test of Meet this week. It worked pretty well, seemingly more reliable than Google Hangouts. The video stream is limited to 360p supports SD (360p) or HD (720p) resolution, lower than Zoom's high-res, but adequate for general conversations. The presentation option gives flexible screen sharing, for whole screen, single window, or selected area.  

 

I expect to use Meet for a few small meetings. Your mileage may vary. I am trusting that no Google servers hosting Meet are in China. 

 

Craig

 

Dr. D. Cragin Shelton, CISSP
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Re: Alternative to Zoom - Meet


@CraginS wrote:

 

 

I expect to use Meet for a few small meetings. Your mileage may vary. I am trusting that no Google servers hosting Meet are in China. 

 

Craig

 


Sure go ahead and trust Google Smiley LOL

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Re: Alternative to Zoom - Meet


@AppDefects wrote:

Sure go ahead and trust Google Smiley LOL

I don't, and haven't for years. But they are not as nefariously malicious as FaceHook, and, at least in USA applications, not feeding all content to Chinese gummint.

 

Craig

 

 

Dr. D. Cragin Shelton, CISSP
Dr.Cragin@iCloud.com
https://CraginS.blogspot.com/
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Re: Alternative to Zoom - Meet

After a few test meetings, it is obvious the controls in Meet are not intuitive. I made a short (8 minute) video walking through the basics of using Meet. 

The video is also linked from my blog.

 

Dr. D. Cragin Shelton, CISSP
Dr.Cragin@iCloud.com
https://CraginS.blogspot.com/
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My LinkedIn Profile
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Re: Alternative to Zoom - Meet

 

Our organization uses G suite for Education which includes Meet --- but we utilize Teams coz we also subscribe to Office 365.

 

(Interestingly, at least one of the vendors I've communicated with recently is making use of Zoom for sessions)

 

 

 

Shannon D'Cruz,
CISM, CISSP

www.linkedin.com/in/shannondcruz
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Re: Alternative to Zoom - Meet


@Shannon wrote:

...

(Interestingly, at least one of the vendors I've communicated with recently is making use of Zoom for sessions)


In my limited experience, Zoom is, from a general user standpoint, an excellent service. The user experience (UsEx), control interface, and streaming quality for both video and audio are all excellent. I would not be surprised if they offer an excellent pricing structure, also. If an enterprise is either not aware or not concerned about the possible security and privacy questions about Zoom, it would make sense for the IT department to select Zoom as a beneficial cost/benefit contract. 

 

I saw precisely the same situation decades ago when IRC was a common chat service on the net. We could not get government offices to stop using mIRC for official business, even though it was a foreign national-developed program with a shaky legacy. Having tried a wide variety fo IRC clients at the time, both Mac and DOS (pre-Windows 3.1!), I acknowledged that the UsEx for IRC was head and shoulders above all of the others.  

 

We security type will never be able to sell security over quality UsEx!

 

Craig

 

 

Dr. D. Cragin Shelton, CISSP
Dr.Cragin@iCloud.com
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My Community Profile
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Re: Alternative to Zoom - Meet

 


@CraginS wrote:

 

We security type will never be able to sell security over quality UsEx!

 

Craig


Very true, that will remain a fantasy. But I still found it ironic, given that this particular vendor was selling a security solution.  Man LOL

 

 

Shannon D'Cruz,
CISM, CISSP

www.linkedin.com/in/shannondcruz
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Re: Alternative to Zoom - Meet

Meet Test Meeting Report.

This is a quick report on a load test of the free public Google Meet with about 18 participants, lasting roughly 90 minutes, no 5/14/20 (or 14/5/20, depending on your geography).

I'll give highlights here; Grandpa Rob @rslade as Meetinging organizer may wish to add more detail.

BLUF: Meet is fine for small cooperating team meetings with max of 10 to 15 participants. I cannot imagine using it at close to the 100 limit imposed by Google. It definitely will not work for the sorta-like-BSides that Rob has in mind. Nor would I use it for a gathering likely to become highly contentious.

 

Tidbits of observation:

1. Video and audio quality is acceptable (mostly) but not up to the standard of Zoom.

2. While the person who scheduled the meeting has moderator power to mute or remove participants, that authority cannot be shared with a co-moderator.

3. The moderator can only unmute individuals that the moderator muted. If it is obvious anyone is speaking without realizing they were still muted by their own action, the moderator cannot un-mute them.

4. The typed chat feature only allows typing to the entire group; there is no (private) mode allowing one-to-one side chats. 

5. There was no obvious means of saving the chat window content to a file.

6. We were not able to find a feature allowing recording of the meeting. 

7. International participation was good: we had folks in Canada, USA, Sweden, and the Czech Republic. 

6. We did not test a REMOVE action to see if it permanently bans that account, or simply kicks them out.

 

Over to Rob for his comments.

 

Craig

 

 

 

Dr. D. Cragin Shelton, CISSP
Dr.Cragin@iCloud.com
https://CraginS.blogspot.com/
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My LinkedIn Profile
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Re: Alternative to Zoom - Meet

A few general comments on availability and accessibility between Zoom and Meet.

 

Setting up contacts with Zoom is an arcane mystery.  I've poked and prodded at it, and I think I can get it to work, but a lot of people with a lot of experience with Zoom seem to find it difficult.  I can't see much chance of newcomers doing it effectively.

 

You can add anyone to a Meet meeting.  Anyone, that is, who has a GMail or other Google account.  (This seems to include Google registered domain names.)  (This limitation is for the free version of Meet.)

 

You can download Zoom from Zoom.  There are lots of people who are willing to send you a download of "Zoom."  Almost all of these are malware.  Searching for Zoom in the Apple App Store, Google Play, or the Microsoft Store gets you lots of listings that aren't Zoom, and sometimes nothing that is.  (I've got a pre-version-5 Zoom app on one of my devices which won't upgrade/update.  I'm dying to see if it'll work with a post-version-5 Zoom, because that'll definitely say something about whether all Zoom calls are effectively encrypted.)

 

The default for Zoom meetings is now to use a password.  Most of the time, when Zoom generates a URL for a meeting, the URL includes the password for the meeting.  But not always.  This can get tricky with those who don't read the entire meeting invitation or announcement.  Google's default is not to use a password, and I don't know if one can be mandated.

 

Zoom has provision for attending a Zoom meeting just using your browser, and not installing the Zoom application.  But, if you try it, it does try and download and install software on your computer.

 

Meet just uses your browser.  No additional download necessary.  However, in trials, using the Safari browser under Mac OS, and using Firefox under Windows, demonstrated significant problems.  Using Chrome under both Mac and Windows worked fine.


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Re: Alternative to Zoom - Meet

If you have ever been on a conference call, you will undoubtedly laugh at this.

 

(Even though it is six years old ...)


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