The videoconferencing arms race is on, with Zoom in the crosshairs.
On Wednesday, Google said it's making Google Meet, its premium videoconferencing product, free for up to 100 users. Google Meet had previously only been available to enterprise customers using G Suite.
Shares of Zoom (ZM) - Get Zoom Video Communications Inc. Report fell 6.9% on Wednesday to $145.80, while Alphabet (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Report was up 9% following its well-received March quarter earnings report on Tuesday.
The Google Meet expansion is the second time in a week that a tech giant has announced free video calling for large groups, which is also Zoom's main bread and butter, although Zoom's primary clients are enterprise customers.
On Friday, Facebook (FB) - Get Meta Platforms Inc. Report announced a similar expansion of the video calling app Messenger Rooms, making it available for up to 50 people with no time limit. In a video broadcast, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that part of the goal was to encourage more "spontaneous" video interactions, and also announced a slew of other new messaging and video features for Facebook users.
Zoom's free videoconferencing product can hold up to 100 people with a 40-minute time limit, but increases to 1,000 people with no time limit for a paid enterprise version.
The free version of Google Meet will come with a 60-minute time limit, but Google said that it won't enforce that limit until Sept. 30. Google Meet also requires a Google account and won't allow anonymous users to join calls, emphasizing the product's privacy and security in a blog post.
Zoom's meteoric rise this year -- share have increased almost 115% this year as the company has attracted a huge number of new users and downloads during the coronavirus lockdowns -- has also been accompanied by complaints of security and privacy issues, particularly in Zoom's free version.