Google and Microsoft have announced that they will offer free access to their teleconferencing tools to help businesses and schools continue operating in spite of the global coronavirus outbreak.
Google will provide free access to the advanced Hangouts meeting service to all G-Suite and G-Suite for Educations customers across the globe, and Microsoft will offer a six-month free trial of Microsoft Teams.
Both these services will allow important organisations to operate remotely and let employees work from home, avoiding interpersonal meetings as well as classroom gatherings.
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Google's Advanced Hangout Meet, which can host up to 250 participants and stream live to up to 100,000 users in a domain will be available for free till July 1. This service is otherwise priced between $13 to $25 per user per month.
The company announced, “As more employees, educators, and students work remotely in response to the spread of COVID-19, we want to do our part to help them stay connected and productive and as more businesses adjust their work-from-home policies and adopt reduced travel plans in response to COVID-19, we’re helping to ensure that all globally distributed teams can still reliably meet face to face, even if employees are not in the same location.”
The premium tier of Microsoft Teams, which was initially available in China with certain limitations, will be now available to users globally. Starting March 10, Microsoft also plans to remove member restrictions and will let users schedule video calls and conferences.
“At Microsoft, the health and safety of employees, customers, partners and communities is our top priority. By making Teams available to all for free for six months, we hope that we can support public health and safety by making remote work even easier,” Microsoft’s EVP JP Courtois tweeted.
The move comes after a number of major technology conferences, including both Microsoft and Google’s developer events, as well as Mobile World Congress, have been called off due to the coronavirus threat.
Similarly, companies like Twitter, Facebook, Stripe, Slack, and Square have asked their employees to work remotely and also avoid non-essential travel.
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Via: The Verge (opens in new tab)