5 reasons Google Meet is better than Zoom for the average person

Google Meet is ready for you
Google Meet is ready for you (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

Living alone, the only way I see my friends and family right now is video chatting apps, and there certainly are plenty to choose from these days. Zoom has been the in-vogue video app of the last several weeks, but since that Google Meet is free for everyone this summer, you should absolutely move your chats over to Meet instead.

While Google Meet was built for enterprise as a way to host weekly staff meetings and host company-wide briefings, it has several advantages for the everyday chat with your parents or that weekly coffee gossip your mom has with her friends.

No plugins or desktop apps required

Google Meet at my standing desk

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

The first and biggest reason to jump over to Meet is that Zoom requires you to install either an app or a browser extension (depending on your device), and even then, Zoom can still get wonky unless you turn off your pop-up blocker, which most browsers leave on by default these days because pop-ups are the absolute worst.

Google Meet requires an app on Android and iOS, but when you're on a computer, literally all you need to get started at meet.google.com in any of the major browsers — Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Apple Safari — is to click Allow when Meet asks for access to your microphone and camera. That's it; you're ready to join a meeting in progress or set up a new video meet.

This might not seem like a big thing on its own, but not having to jump through installers and setup when trying to get your grandma into a group call for Aunt May's birthday is invaluable. The fewer barriers between a person and your call, the better.

Easier to add friends and keep out crashers

Zoom has meeting codes and passwords to enter, but Google Meet takes another approach: after your meeting URL is generated, you grant entry to new members rather than forcing them to remember a password. I prefer this method for two reasons:

  • Keep out unwanted guests: Because the meeting's occupants admit or deny entry to newcomers, if you don't recognize the name on the Google Account, you can hit deny and keep them out. Zoom has had issues with people randomly guessing meeting codes and then doing something outrageous to make everyone who was already there leave.
  • Easier to add new people: On the other hand, if you're welcoming new members into a meeting for something like a volunteer organization or a crafting circle, anyone in the call can admit someone asking to join. For example, even if you don't recognize the name, if a friend of a friend wants in on sewing face masks, the friend can recognize the name and let them in.

Simplified UI is easier to get the hang of

Zoom is lauded for its low learning curve, but Google Meet has an even lower learning curve for the most part, starting with how the video call opens. Rather than popping up in a brand new window the way Zoom does, Google Meet stays in the same tab you began the call from or opens in a new tab of the same window if you're opening a Meet URL someone sent you.

Google Meet Controls in Google Chrome

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Moving into the actual call controls, while Zoom has more robust controls for things like annotating a screen share that can be useful to classrooms and other work-related meetings, Meet makes screen sharing stupid simple. You tap Present Now, then select either your whole screen or a specific window. To end the screen share, either tap the big Stop presenting button in the middle of the Meet window or hit Stop on the notification that accompanies it.

Meet lays its controls out sensibly: if it's not in that bottom bar, it's in a single options menu in the bottom right corner. It's a more elegant layout, and the text labels on the main controls are larger and easier to read than Zoom, too.

No time limit on calls until September

The free tier of Zoom has a 40-minute time limit before it boots everyone out, an area where Meet beats it twice. From now until September, Meet does not have a time limit for meetings, and starting in September, the free time limit will be 60 minutes, a full 20 minutes longer than Zoom.

20 more minutes of laughter and long sighs.

It's very easy to get carried away in a spirited debate with your friends, or for that one uncle to just prattle on and on with some story from their trip to the grocery store, and an extra 20 minutes to talk before you need to wrap it up can be very useful. We use Google Meet here at Android Central for our work meetings, but we also use it for things like happy hour and game night since we're spread out across the hemisphere.

I'm hopeful that Google Meet's free tier will ditch the time limit entirely, but for now, letting everyone enjoy unlimited video calls will help.

More stable and secure service

Google Titan Security Key

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Zoom has had its fair share of security concerns over the last few months, and while they are working to fix them, Google Meet has been designed towards security from day one because it's made for businesses that deal with sensitive work such as healthcare and finance.

Google Meet has encryption of the video and recordings, and it forbids anonymous users from entering calls, which means that so long as your friends and family have a Google account, which should cover most people between Android users, Gmail users, and YouTube. All of this adds up with Google's robust account protections to make Google Meet a more secure service, which is great for security-minded folks who want to make sure their video calls are secure.

Can't wait for you to try it

Google Meet joining options

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

The only reason not to give Google Meet a shot right now is actually that many of us actually can't create video meetings yet. Google said in its announcement that the ability for non-G Suite users to use Google Meet for more than joining someone else's meeting is going to be gradually rolling out over the next few weeks.

Want to be notified when Meet is available for you? Sign up here!

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.

9 Comments
  • What IP Cam set up are you using with your Pixel?
  • I don't think I'll ever video chat, did it once got nothing out of it.
  • Well you're cheerful.
  • Maybe I missed it. How many people does meet allow per meeting compared to zoom? Swapping to meet is fine and all. But the headaches many of us went through to teach people zoom and now to get them to change?
  • And one reason it isn't: 1. No one cares about or uses Google's Video services. Except Google diehards. Google themselves don't even use Meet 😂 Zoom is pretty rubbish though, the UI is dated, lots of little windows with unclear buttons, when you snap a Zoom window in Windows 10 you're stuck with a smaller video (Skype cleverly resizes/zooms in the video). WhatsApp on phones and Skype on PCs, people actually already use and know what those are.
  • You've never heard of Duo?? Wow. Quality is way better than WhatsApps. I even have some friends that have IPhone who prefer Google Duo over FaceTime when they have the option. Skype is ok but there's nothing worth mentioning about it. GOOGLE Duo is the way to go 😉
  • I don't get why friends are using Zoom when they're already connected on WhatsApp, Facebook and probably other video services they use daily. Instead of leaving those apps and arranging a separate Zoom call they can just tap on the Camera symbol. Weird. Zoom has it's benefits for broadcasting publicly though.
  • I agree with this. Zoom seems to have been built with conferencing in mind, it does it decently enough. One on one or small groups it's not good at all.
  • The only time I use Zoom is for work related items (because that is what they choose). Wouldn't see using Zoom outside of that for video calling/chatting as there are plenty of other apps we already use that get the job done.