Especially now, when public life has largely been moved indoors (be it as home office or home schooling) and relatives or friends should better not be visited (social distancing), I keep seeing tweets like this:
In this blog post, you will find five reasons for using Meet as a video meeting tool. I try to explain what’s so different about Meet from the video calls that can be made via Google, WhatsApp, etc.
Meet belongs to the one who runs it
Meet is a service that can be operated by an organization itself. This means you can run a server with it yourself. This sounds quite complex, but thanks to for example, Univention or Docker it’s not that complicated for those who are in that business anyway.
The additional effort is worth it: because with it an organization can run its own video conferencing service. This creates independence from the availability of a cloud or ensures that conversations remain truly private.
Meet is a virtual building
Meet is like a house full of meeting rooms. It consists of rooms that can be open or closed. Whoever wants to enter a room must know the address of the room. And one may need access rights (user name, password) to enter it.
The big difference to services like Skype is that you are not called via Meet. You meet in a room at a time you agreed on before. This means that you are not torn away from the current event when it suits the other party, as is the case with the telephone. You arrange to meet decentrally via e-mail or messenger and then have time for each other.
Meet is not only encrypted, but also direct communication
The calls then take place directly from one device to another. Neither video nor audio data flows via servers. The whole thing works like this: Someone enters one of the rooms with his device. A so-called TURN service is used to record how this device can be reached. The whole thing is also done by other people. The TURN service now knows where the picture and sound of all participants must flow to so that they can see and hear each other.
This form of connection has the advantage that there is no central point where all data pass by. This makes it much more complex to listen in on conversations (keyword: data protection).
Meet is flexible
Meet can be run on a PC, a MAC or even under Linux. All it needs is a modern browser (for example Chrome or Firefox), a webcam, a speaker and a microphone. Meet also works on smartphones with iOS or Android. There, webcam, speaker and microphone are of course included.
On all devices, Meet offers to be installed as an app the first time you use it. This is a so-called Progressive WebApp (PWA). For users it feels like a real app, only that it is actually a website.
And you can trust that?
Yes. If you trust the person running the Meet instance, you can trust that. Because then you know that the systems are reliable. Meet itself is open source. That means that anyone can look at the source code of the system and check if anything is different. And if you don’t have the know-how to do it yourself (like I do), you can ask well-known software developers to do it for you.
More than these five reasons for Meet as a video meeting tool?
All solutions have their advantages and disadvantages. So naturally also Meet. As an on-premise solution, it must of course be operated by itself. Those who strive for digital sovereignty will see this as the ultimate advantage. Meet makes web meetings. No more and no less. If you are looking for a solution quickly, it might be too complex for you.
More than any text says of course the self-experiment. On meet-app.io there is more about Meet. There are also links to downloads and the source code. For a quick self-experiment as a user, splash.meet-app.io invites you.