During the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, video conferencing has become more popular and important than ever before. Zoom has become the go-to service for video calling with groups, but on the morning of May 17th the service was hit with a massive outage, going down for users across the globe. While we wait for things to be fixed, here’s how to start a Google Meet call.

Confirmed through Twitter and its own status dashboard, Zoom confirmed that its service is having issues for a “limited subset of users” as of this morning. Some users trying to join calls are experiencing issues getting past the “Waiting Room” while others are having problems with audio and video. For obvious reasons, it’s very frustrating to run a Zoom call this morning.

If you’re one of the many users trying to get on Zoom while it’s down, you might want to give Google Meet a shot. The service just recently went free and has seen several updates in the past few weeks to better match Zoom’s feature set. For example, Google Meet now shows gallery views for everyone connected to a call.

For the longest time, Google Meet was a paid service only available to G Suite customers, but now it’s available to everyone with a Gmail account. You can run a 60-minute call for free with a group of people as long as they have a Google account. Here’s how it works.

First, the host of the meeting needs to go to meet.google.com. Next, click Start a meeting. From that screen, you’ll see “Join Now” as well as the link for others to join the call. Copy that link and send it to those who need to attend. The link will also pop up after you press Join Now. You can see this process step-for-step in the GIF below.

google meet free account

Once the call is running, anyone with that link and a Gmail account is free to join and use the service just like Zoom. Attendees can easily join from Google Chrome or any other desktop browser, but those joining from Android, iPhone, or iPad will need to download the Google Meet app.

Our team is investigating the root cause of issues joining Zoom Meetings. These issues appear to be limited to a subset of users. Please visit https://t.co/aqz5nSoQRw for updates.

— Zoom (@zoom_us) May 17, 2020

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