Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

Google Hangouts Meet's daily usage soars during COVID-19 outbreak

Daily usage of Google's enterprise videoconferencing tool is now 25X higher than it was in January.

Suddenly, Google Hangouts Meet is in heavy demand

Daily usage of Google's enterprise videoconferencing tool Hangouts Meet is soaring, the company reported Tuesday, as workers look for ways to stay productive from home through the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last few weeks, Google Meet's day-over-day growth has exceeded 60 percent, Google Cloud Chief Thomas Kurian wrote in a blog post, with daily usage now 25X higher than it was in January. 

"Despite this growth, the demand has been well within the bounds of our network's ability," Kurian wrote. 

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Like a number of other businesses that offer communication and collaboration tools, Google some weeks ago started rolling out free access to its teleconferencing tools in response to the global crisis. A few weeks ago, the company made the advanced features in Google Meet free to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally. It also made Meet Hardware available in additional markets, including South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia and South Africa. 

Kurian highlighted a few major Google Meet use cases that have emerged since then. For instance, in Peru, where the whole country is under quarantine, the judiciary branch is using Google Meet to conduct both internal meetings as well as hearings involving attorneys, lawyers and judiciary clerks. Meanwhile, the French mutual insurance provider the MACIF Group moved its in-person meetings to Google Meet and now holds more than 1,300 video meetings daily. 

Meanwhile, Google Cloud is providing other kinds of tools and support for workers and organizations adjusting their operations in response to the pandemic. For instance, it's offering access to its portfolio of Google Cloud learning resources, including a  catalog of training courses, hands-on labs on Qwiklabs and interactive Cloud OnAir webinars at no cost until April 30. 

Google Cloud also has remote customer service agents ready to help customers, as well as enhanced support protocol for peak periods.