Remote work is the coronavirus coping skill. Now, for a limited time, Google and Microsoft have said they will grant access to their more robust teleconferencing and collaboration tools that are typically only available to enterprise customers. Some of these features could even enable small scale online events or conferences.
Google announced this morning that it would be rolling out free access to “advanced” features for Hangouts Meet to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally through July 1st. Organizations can host meetings with up to 250 participants, live stream to up to 100,000 viewers within a single domain, and record and save meetings to Google Drive. Normally, Google charges $13 extra per user per month for these features in addition to G Suite access under its “enterprise” tier, which adds up to a total of $25 per user per month.
Microsoft is offering a free six-month trial globally for a premium tier of Microsoft Teams, Business Insider first reported on Tuesday.. This was originally designed to enable hospitals, schools, and businesses in China to get up and running quickly on Microsoft Teams, and that tier is now available globally. However, as The Verge reported after clarifying with a Microsoft spokesperson, when you try to sign up , you’ll be prompted to work with a Microsoft partner or a member of Microsoft’s sales team.
On March 10th, Microsoft plans to roll out an update to the free version of Teams that will lift restrictions on how many users can be part of a team and allow users to schedule video calls and conferences.
Both companies have also responded to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, by canceling conferences taking place in April and May. According to Business Insider, Google has also halted most international travel for employees, and Microsoft has recommended that employees work remotely to help prevent the spread of the disease.