Zoom effect: Google rebrands Hangouts Meet, highlights how its video conferencing app is more secure than rivals

By: |
April 9, 2020 5:30 PM

Scores of people are using video calling/conferencing apps around the world for work, for education, or simply staying connected.

meetThe rebranding makes sense in the current scenario.

As Zoom continues to grapple with new privacy issues each passing day, global search engine giant Google has come up with a detailed blog post to highlight how its competing video conferencing tool, aka Hangouts Meet is seemingly better than anything else you’ve ever used. Oh, and looks like Google has also silently rebranded Hangouts Meet, calling it simply Google Meet now. Although you can’t see the change anywhere else just yet, the blog post uses the name ‘Google Meet’ on multiple occasions suggesting a formal rebranding might just be around the corner.

The rebranding makes sense in the current scenario. Scores of people are using video calling/conferencing apps around the world for work, for education, or simply staying connected with their near and dear ones in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Google’s own service is apparently adding more than 2 million ‘new’ users each day globally as we speak. Removing ‘hangouts’ from the naming and adding its own ‘known’ brand to it would bring some more familiarity to Meet making it easier to absorb more users. Google is doing a lot of work around fighting COVID-19. Google Meet is also part of that work, as it works to ensure people can stay in touch in these challenging times.

As it would also want its users to know they would be safe while using it. Zoom has taken the video conferencing world by storm, something that even Zoom did not anticipate a few months ago. But we also know that Zoom is a privacy nightmare. While rivals like Google probably did not see Zoom coming, they’re now fighting back — to grab more users — by talking about that very aspect, at length, and all the related things that make them better.

Here are all the things that Google is highlighting, with reference to Google Meet:

— “All data is encrypted in transit by default between the client and Google for video meetings on a web browser, on the Android and iOS apps, and in meeting rooms with Google meeting room hardware.” Zoom meetings are not end-to-end encrypted.

— ”For every person and for every meeting, Meet generates a unique encryption key, which only lives as long as the meeting, is never stored to disk, and is transmitted in an encrypted and secured RPC (remote procedure call) during the meeting setup.” Hackers have already designed a program called zWarDial that can ‘guess’ Zoom meeting identification numbers to the tune of 100 IDs in an hour and in the event that these meetings aren’t password protected, miscreants can just drop in uninvited using these IDs — this is called Zoom bombing.

— “Google’s network is engineered to accommodate peak demand and handle future growth. Our network is resilient and engineered to accommodate the increased activity we’ve seen on Google Meet.” Zoom calls were until recently being ‘mistakenly’ routed through China — for non-China users — because the company failed to fully implement its usual geo-fencing best practices “in our urgency to come to the aid of people around the world during this unprecedented pandemic.”

Also Read Zoom meetings are going viral because they’re actually quite awesome. So, what’s the catch?

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