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The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has pushed more companies and organizations to transition to remote work, and now both 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 to make it easier for people to work from home. Both companies are only offering free access for a limited time.
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. That means 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.
We want to help businesses and schools impacted by COVID-19 stay connected: starting this week, we’ll roll out free access to our advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities through July 1, 2020 to all G Suite customers globally. https://t.co/OWWF7s5jjR— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) March 3, 2020
Microsoft is offering a free six-month trial globally for a premium tier of Microsoft Teams, Business Insider first reported on Tuesday. The tier 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, when you try to sign up for it, you’ll be prompted to work with a Microsoft partner or a member of Microsoft’s sales team to get it set up.
On March 10th, Microsoft says it will also 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 Google and Microsoft have also responded to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, by canceling conferences taking place in April and May. 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.
Update, March 3rd, 7:41PM ET: We’ve clarified Microsoft’s offerings after conversations with a Microsoft spokesperson.