Google’s Hangouts Meet, which has silently been rebranded as Google Meet, is adding 2 million users a day, CNET reported. On March 31, Google had said that demand for Meet had increased by over 25 times compared to January. CNET said in its report that 2 billion minutes of calls have happened on the service in March (some of which our editorial team can attest to). Google Hangouts, for its part, is still running as a separate service for users not on Google’s G Suite of enterprise apps.
This development comes as Zoom, which swelled to 200 million users, comes under scrutiny for its privacy and security. Meet, though armed with fewer features than Zoom, just might be emerging as a popular alternative — unlike many other calling services, it runs right out of a browser; in fact, on desktop, it only runs out of a browser.
Not even Google is immune to the increased strain on internet infrastructure that this pandemic is causing, though. Reuters reported today that the company had to get FCC approval to use an undersea cable (this one) to augment capacity between Taiwan and the US. The company can’t use the part of the cable that connects to Hong Kong due to US intelligence’s security concerns.