As 8-year Users of a Web Conferencing, We will Answer Anything about Hangouts Meet

*We have compiled past questions about web conferencing and Hangouts Meet in this post.

1. What is it like? (Overall review)

  • Q: What is Web conferencing like?
  • A: We’ve used it for some years and it’s convenient!

Now, it has become a necessary tool for us.

It’s been about 8 years since we started using it. Probably it is as essential as e-mail or mobile phones.

Specifically, we actively use Hangouts Meet, one of the G Suite services, not only for regular business progress report meetings but also for meetings within every department and people outside the company (including supporting them).

Incidentally, we call a business progress report meeting a “weekly report meeting” or “monthly report meeting”, and we’ve organized over 100 meetings. Since our company has a lot of workers who telecommute and has a lot of business trips we really value “Hangouts Meet”.

(*2020-04-14) On April 10th, 2020 the name of the product “Hangouts Meet” was changed to “Google Meet”, so we will use the new name in the following sections.
https://www.droid-life.com/2020/04/08/not-that-it-matters-but-hangouts-meet-is-now-google-meet/

2. What is Google Meet? (Product)

  • Q: What is Google Meet?
  • A: it is a video conferencing service!

It is the cloud product called Google Meet that enables a meeting.

With your computer or smartphone you can enter a virtual conference room. Plus, you can share data on the PC screen as well as camera images with other participants at the conference. It’s officially called “video conferencing”, while our company refers to it in various ways, such as a “web conferencing” “a net meeting” or “an online meeting”.

If you’ve ever used a cloud product like Webex, Zoom, or Skype for Business, you can grasp those functions. For further information about the function you can go to the product site (G Suite Learning Center).

*Incidentally, Hangouts Meet and Hangouts are different. (Their URLs are also different)

Hangouts MeetBefore
Participants
at the conference (maximum)
G Suite Basic – 100 participants
G Suite for Education – 100 participants
G Suite Business – 150 participants
G Suite Enterprise – 250 participants
G Suite Enterprise for Education – 250 participants
25 participants
The ways
to participate in the conference
Browser
Via Mobile apps
Google Calendar
Links(URL) and codes to access the conference
Direct dial-in (DDI) with a mobile phone
Hangouts Meet hardware
Browser
Via Mobile apps
Gmail and Google Calendar
Hangouts Meet hardware
Conference recordingG Suite Enterprise
G Suite Enterprise for Education
Disabled

(We excerpted and translated “└ “Hangouts Meet and the past Hangouts Meet”)

Recently, the largest number of participants has increased from 25 to 150 in G Suite Business. (2019 -10) In addition, on March 4th, 2020, the spread of COVID -19 has temporarily raised the maximum number of participants at each conference up to 250 (It is also possible to record.)

3. How much is it? (Expenses)

  • Q: Is it really expensive?
  • A: Personally, we think it’s cheap.

It costs 1360 yen (in G Suite Business) per user per month for the whole package.

In the case of 100 users, it will cost 130,000 yen per month. (Price list)

Google Meet is one of the sets of cloud products in G Suite, so it’s hard to compare prices.

*In this section, we show the price of the product but it is not an advertising purpose. We just answer some questions about Google Meet.

4. Is it a good product? (Performance)

  • Q: Is it possible to have a conversation without any interruptions?
  • A: 100 Mbps is enough for our company.

Basically, our company is sure that communication lines (including Wi-fi) are not a problem.

Rather, the performance of the presenter’s PC is thought to be more important. We have experienced some online communication bugs because presenters have run out of memory or CPU resources. We think these will be solved by a Core i3-2000 or higher (≒ 2011 and after) with more than 2GB RAM.

*By the way, if you feel the network is slow, you can reduce the image quality. Even if 10 users at the same location use it, it only uses a few megabits. Reference: Prepare your network

5. Is it difficult? (IT literacy)

  • Q: Is it possible for other companies to use?
  • A: We think any company can use it!

If you can use a computer or a smartphone, we think anyone can participate in web conferencing.

Actually, even a director outside the company who is over 60 years old has been able to participate in web conferencing without needing any explanation. Moreover, they have accepted the Invitation URL without any suspicion.

*On the other hand, you may have to gain some experience to be an organizer. Even so, you don’t need any special IT knowledge. Also, from the perspective of using all tools in G Suite, the cloud products are particularly tailored for IT companies. (Still, they’re easier and more user-friendly than they used to be.)

6. Why do we start? (Motive)

  • Q: Why did you start web conferencing?
  • A: It is just curiosity!

In the first place, we’re interested in cloud products (because our company also makes cloud products).

So basically we’re trying to enjoy new products. (But It’s true that we thought they may improve productivity.)

Actually, in January 2012, we had to project materials both on a projector and the video conference, therefore, some presenters’ materials were confusing. Moreover, since it was a tool for consumers at that time it had some extra functions. (Recent tools don’t have any of them)

By the way, since our CEO likes cloud products, we installed G Suite on the day our company was founded. (April 2008) In addition, we recently introduced WordPress.com, a cloud-based CMS as soon as the Third Party Plugins became available. (For more information, you can see “My Experience Story on SaaS WordPress”)

7. Did something change? (Internal)

  • Q: Do you still hold a conference in the conference room?
  • A: No. we do it at the desk.

Since the number of our employees who telecommute has increased, video conferencing has become essential and employees in the office have also participated in the conference from their desks.

This is because one day in January 2015 a projector was used for another project: 3 years had passed since we started video conferencing. At that time, we decided to use Google Meet at the desk, preparing earphones and microphones (although the main microphone was not good because the sound of typing on the keyboard was so noisy). After that day we changed the rule so that employees who have earphones can participate in the conference from their desks. In January 2018, because we found preparing a projector got in the way, we adopted conferencing where all employees can participate from their desks.

In January 2018, we started to use Hangouts Meet (now, Google Meet). The way of sharing the screen has changed a little bit, but no one seemed to care about that.

8. Is it necessary to be creative? (Information Sharing)

  • Q: As well as the materials, are the drinking parties (behind-the-scenes meetings) important?
  • A: No, at least we don’t regard these as important.

We are sure that it is a universal problem that is equal to deciding how to proceed with a meeting.

In the first place, our CEO doesn’t like a fruitless meeting and paperless or cashless, etc, so we’ve set the rule to prepare presentations in advance and read them as they are written.However, for meetings in the conference room it is often necessary to print materials (*even now, in meetings with people outside the company lots of material is printed out. That is bad for the global environment).

On the other hand, in video conferencing it’s rather convenient because other participants can clearly see every detail of someone’s presentation, and if report materials contain an error they can be revised during the presentation. (Moreover, you can easily search for decisions after the conference, as well.)

Moreover, since we adopted conferencing where all employees can participate from their desks there is no time wasted even if they enter the conference beforehand. In our conferences there always seems to be employees who enter the room 15 minutes before the scheduled time, but some of them work until just before the start. Our conferencing style allows some participants to work on side jobs if they find a report irrelevant. It is meaningless for everyone to seriously listen to information on distant departments, so we think it is better for each person to aim at improving productivity.

Therefore, preparation and pre-organized announcements are important. Moreover, behind-the-scenes meetings like drinking parties are not necessary.

By the way, there is no conversation during business hours because all routine tasks are done in workflows and a chat tool is available. So inside the office, it is very quiet like in the library or a study room. (But it is necessary to consider employees who telecommute or they could become outsiders.)

*When we get more questions about Google Meet, we can update this article.
Moreover, two pages below: “The rules of employment” (left) and “Rules for part-time workers” (right) are written in Japanese. We apologize for the inconvenience.

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