Both Google and Microsoft announced free access to their teleconference applications and their more advanced features, Hangouts Meet and Microsoft Teams, respectively, for a limited time in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Microsoft Teams Free Trial
Microsoft is offering the premium version of its Teams chat application for enterprises for free over the next six months, as reported by Business Insider (opens in new tab). However, when you try to sign up for it you are prompted to speak with a local Microsoft partner to help you set it up. This may create some friction for adopters.
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On March 10, Microsoft will also release an update to the free tier of Teams that will lift restrictions for how many users can be included in a team and allow users to schedule video calls and conferences.
Free Google Hangouts Meet Features
In a blog post (opens in new tab) Tuesday, Google said that starting this week all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers will be able to host teleconferences that include up to 250 participants per call. They will also be able to livestream for up to 100,000 viewers, plus record videos and store them on Google Drive. Usually those features are only available to the Enterprise edition (opens in new tab) of G Suite and G Suite for Education, which starts at $25 per user per month, but now every entity with a G Suite account (opens in new tab), which starts at $6 per user per month, will be able to use them until July 1.
Both Microsoft and Google (opens in new tab)have also moved events starting in March to being online only in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Google has also halted international travel (opens in new tab) for its employees, while Microsoft has started recommending its employees to work from home (opens in new tab).