Duo | Hangouts | Meet this product meets our minimum security standards
Google | Duo & Hangout are free. Meet offers a free version, with paid versions up to $25 per month

Duo | Hangouts | Meet

Review Date 04/23/2020

Google Duo, Google Hangouts, Google Meet. The various options can be confusing - here's the breakdown: Google Duo is a simple video call app for up to 12 participants. Google Hangouts allows for video calls up to 25 participants, as well as phone calls and text chats. Google Meet is their business-grade video conferencing option, for up to 100 participants, built into the paid version of G Suite. There you have it.

Minimum Security Standards

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Overall Security Rating
5/5 star
Encryption
Yes
Google uses encryption on all three of its video chat apps. Google Duo is the only one of the three apps that claims to use end-to-end encryption.
Security updates
Yes
Google updates these apps around three times a year, primarily to address compatibility issues and minor bug fixes.
Strong password
Yes
Both Hangouts and Meet require a strong password to login. Duo does not require a password as it is a simple calling app. Users can and should passcode protect their phone to keep unwanted people from making calls.
Manages vulnerabilities
Yes
Google has a bug bounty program for security vulnerabilities
Privacy policy
Yes
https://policies.google.com/

What is required to sign up?

Users sign in with an email. It does not have to be a gmail address.

How does it handle privacy?

How does it share data?
Google collects information on users that includes name, birthday, gender, phone number, email, location, contacts you add, and apps you use. Google uses your personal information “to serve you relevant ads in Google products, on partner websites, and in mobile apps.” According to the company, customers own their data and it does not sell this data to third parties. Google does state it gets paid by advertisers for placing ads to you based on your personal information.
How are your recordings handled?
Recordings in all three apps can be initiated by the call host (or someone within the same organization as the host) and are saved in Google Drive. There isn't an option to record directly to an individual's internal hard drive.
Alerts when calls are being recorded?
Yes
People are notified when the recording starts or stops, but cannot control the recording.
Does the platform say it is compliant with US medical privacy laws?
Yes
Google video call apps are not compliant by default. Google video call apps can be HIPAA compliant. Please check with your healthcare provider to make sure their Google video service meets all the requirements.
Links to privacy information

Can I control it?

Host controls
For Google Duo, hosts can start calls, mute, and stop calls. Pretty simple. For Google Hangouts, hosts can add and remove people from a conversation, mute, and control who can send messages. For Meet, only 'Owners' have the control to pin, mute and remove participants. At the time of writing, Meet does not regulate who can share content at any given time. Once someone is admitted into a meeting, they automatically have the ability to present.
Is it easy to learn and use the features?
Yes
Google Duo is a simple app that only does video call and is easy to learn. Hangouts has a bit more to it, but still seems easy to grasp for an average users. For Google Meet, the feature set is somewhat limited compared to the other business-targeted apps in this guide, but the platform is intended for ease of use. Users can join calls directly in the browser or with an app. Their support articles are easily accessible and laid out in a logical fashion.
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What could happen if something went wrong

Google Duo is end-to-end encrypted, which is good. Hangouts and Meet aren't but still use encryption. Google is a big company that does a good job on security, so your video calls will most likely be pretty secure. Many people are already using Google products and like the ease of use that offers. Others may be excited to use products that offer similar features but have been developed by open source or newer companies.

Updates

Google Hangouts vs Google Duo – Which Should You Use?
Tech Junkie
When it comes to social media platforms, video calling, and messaging apps, however, Google took a little time to figure things out. There’s Google Duo and Google Hangouts, coexisting out there. Do you use just one or both? And how do the two apps compare?
Rethinking Zoom? How WebEx, Teams, and Google Meet and Duo Compare on Privacy and Security
Inc.
If you're among the many looking for a new video conferencing tool after adding "zoombombing" to your vocabulary, you're in luck. While a one-size-fits-all solution doesn't exist, there are many other options with proven security features. Here's a roundup of some of Zoom's competitors and their privacy and security features.
Medical Privacy Gets Complicated as Doctors Turn to Video Chats
Consumer Reports
Health comes first, privacy experts say, but when you have a choice, it's best to use a service that complies with HIPAA
The best alternatives to Zoom for videoconferencing
The Verge
If recent news has made you Zoom-hesitant, there are other apps available
Google Meet video conferencing is now free with unlimited time for calls and AI noise minimisation
Evening Standard
From Facebook to Houseparty, WhatsApp and Zoom, every app with a video chat aspect is surging at the moment. Google Meet, the tech giant’s enterprise video conference platform, is no different with Google announcing it will offer the service for free to all customers during the lockdown.

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