Collaboration

7 Google Meet alternatives for remote-first teams

Google Meet alternatives cover image

If you don’t use Zoom as a video conferencing tool, chances are you use Google Meet to collaborate with employees and clients. And it makes sense — if you’re already a Google Workspace user, it’s easy to use, there’s no need to download anything, and it integrates with your calendar. 

Google Meet also has a native mobile app and dial-in options for on-the-go accessibility, and the unlimited meeting duration for 1:1 meetings sets Meet apart from other free video meeting options (not to mention the convenience that comes from a browser-based tool).

That said, Meet isn’t a perfect solution for every organization’s video conferencing needs. We’re going to dive into some of the challenges that come with using this tool, and some Google Meet alternatives that might work better for your meeting needs. 

Pain points of Google Meet 

Here are some notable Google Meet shortcomings at a glance: 

  • No recording on the free plan

  • Audio and video quality can lag

  • No meeting transcripts without an add-on

  • Chat content is lost after the meeting 

  • Meeting notes are too basic

  • No emoji reactions :(

Let’s review!

❌ No recording on the free plan

You can’t record meetings on the free version of Google Meet. On paid Google Workspace accounts (starting at $7.99/month), the meeting organizer can record a meeting and it will automatically save to their Google Drive under “My Recordings.” However, they have to download the recording and play it on their computer, which can be time-consuming. And they have to manually share the meeting with other attendees. 

❌ Lagging audio and video quality

Google Meet can buffer or lose quality on lower internet connections or with higher numbers of participants. Noise cancellation isn’t available on the free plan, which can result in occasional background noise and other audio disruptions. Compatibility with browsers other than Chrome needs improvement, as stability and connection issues are more common when using Firefox or Safari. 

❌ No access to meeting transcripts without an add-on

While Google Meet does have live closed captions in multiple languages, there’s no built-in transcription feature. This means you need to use an add-on or extension to capture a transcript that you can see post-meeting (and even then, it needs to be downloaded). And there’s no central searchable repository for transcripts. 

❌ Chat content is lost after the meeting

You can’t save the meeting chat captured during the meeting, so any notes or links shared through there will be lost (unless the meeting is recorded, but even then you have to go back through the recording to find what you’re looking for). You also can’t share files through the meeting chat. 

❌ Meeting notes/agendas are too basic 

Google Meet has a feature where you can click “Take meeting notes” from the meeting invite and it’ll take you to a Google doc pre-populated with the meeting name, date, attendee list, and headings for notes and action items. While it’s great for all meeting attendees to have this open during a meeting, you can’t have everyone see this document in the meeting window unless you share your screen. And...it means more documents that live separately from your meeting recording or transcript.

If you want to switch from Google Meet but don’t know what an *actually* good replacement is, here’s a list of 7 other tools you can use for free.

1. Vowel

Vowel has all the video conferencing essentials that you’d expect, along with extra features that promote inclusion, knowledge-sharing, and collaboration. Instant recordings and live transcription are available even on the free plan, and the shared meeting notes are easy for everyone to see and contribute to. Bookmarks, clips, and search let you extract important knowledge from meetings to use async.

Top features:

✔️  One-click recording (no downloading or wait time) 

✔️  Live transcription in multiple languages 

✔️  Shared meeting notes and agendas to track ideas and decisions 

✔️  Talk time tracking to encourage more inclusive meetings

✔️  Meeting recaps with shared links and action items

✔️ Search across all your meeting content (like you would Slack or email)

G2 rating: 4.5/5

Free plan details: Vowel has a "free forever" plan that includes recording, transcription, and collaborative notes (and other features). Meeting length is capped at 50 minutes on the free plan, and you can go back to meeting recordings/transcripts for 14 days.

Verdict: Vowel has the browser-based convenience of Google Meet with a lot more functionality to plan, host, and act on meetings. Built-in live transcription and recording mean you don’t have to worry about cobbling together different tools to get what you need out of meetings (see a more detailed breakdown of Vowel vs Meet).  

2. Zoom

Zoom is the now-ubiquitous meeting software that remains Google Meet's top competitor, thanks to high-quality video and flexible plans and features that focus on both business and consumer needs. 

Top features:

✔️  Whiteboards and video filters for all users 

✔️  High-quality audio and video with reduced lag time

✔️ Private and group chat

G2 rating: 4.5/5

Free plan details: Zoom’s free plan keeps video conferencing accessible, with limits of 40 minutes per call and 100 participants per meeting. Paid plans like Zoom Business ($199.90 /year/license) and Zoom Enterprise ($240 /year/license) can accommodate meetings for up to 500 participants, plus cloud recording and transcription.

Verdict: Zoom set the standard for video conferencing, and it’s A/V quality is better than Google Meet’s —  but to get the full benefits of recording and transcripts, you have to upgrade to a Small Business plan, which is significantly pricier than a Google Workspace subscription. And Google’s 60-minute limit on meetings (on a free plan) is 20 minutes more than Zoom’s 40-minute cap. 

3. Whereby

While Whereby is still a newer player in the video-conferencing space, the Norwegian app’s ease of use, low barrier to entry, and focus on privacy has positioned it as a strong alternative to Zoom and Meet.

Top features:

✔️ Browser-based tool with custom, secure meeting URLs that stay the same between sessions

✔️ Consistent HD video experience provided across both strong and weak internet connections 

✔️ Personalize the layout, aesthetics, and backgrounds to create a unique experience each time you use it (on a paid plan)

G2 rating: 4.6/5

Free plan details: The free plan includes one room with a custom link, no time limit on one-on-one meetings (the same as Google Meet), and a 45-minute limit on meetings for up to 100 participants. Upgrading to the Pro plan ($6.99/user/month) gets you 3 unique room URLs, no time limits on group meetings, and unlimited recording.  

Verdict: While the free plan is similar to Google Meet (except with a lower time limit on bigger meetings), Whereby’s minimalist design and ease of use work for small team meetings, one-on-one client interactions, or even impromptu social gatherings. They do lack features like meeting transcription, and while they offer recording in higher-tier plans, you have to wait for the download, which can be time-consuming.

4. Microsoft Teams

Teams is Microsoft’s proprietary business communication platform. It offers video conferencing in addition to chat channels, combining a mix of features from Zoom and Slack in a cloud productivity suite. 

Top features:

✔️  Included with every purchase of Microsoft 365 and Office 365, meaning full Word, PowerPoint, and Excel compatibility are built in 

✔️ Dial-in options and 365 Business Voice integration enable Teams to replace phone systems 

✔️ File-sharing, tasks, and polling

G2 rating: 4.3/5

Free plan details: With the free plan, you can host up to 100 participants per meeting for up to 60 minutes and you get 5GB of cloud storage per user. 

Verdict: Teams creates an extension of the Microsoft Office brand. However, the complicated rollout process — which involves moving your entire team’s workflows to Microsoft platforms native to Teams — makes it hard to recommend for standalone video conferencing. And you don’t get recordings or transcripts unless you’re on the Business Basic or Business Standard plan. 

5. RingCentral Video

RingCentral’s video conferencing platform scales because of the multiple invite channels available. The free plan is also competitive, including 24 hours of meeting time for up to 100 participants and recordings saved for up to 7 days.

Top features:

✔️ Instant join in browser (no app required)

✔️ One-click scheduling automatically syncs with Outlook, iCal, and Google Calendar 

✔️ Auto-follow setting allows the camera to follow your movements during presentations 

G2 rating: 4.1/5

Free plan details: The free plan allows meetings for up to 100 participants for up to 24 hours, with cloud recordings stored for up to 7 days. Upgrading to the Pro plan ($11.99/user/month) allows for meetings of up to 200 participants, recording storage for up to a year, and native app integrations. 

Verdict: RingCentral can be cost-prohibitive for larger teams (especially if you need to upgrade to RingCentral MVP). The recordings are saved locally as mp4 files, so storage might be an issue, and big files means it’s harder to share meetings with everyone who attended.  

6. Discord

Discord is a free voice, video, and text chat service that can be accessed from your browser, computer, or smartphone. While it’s often used for personal groups (it started as a gaming tool), it can be adapted to business use. 

Top features:

✔️ Low-latency video and audio

✔️ Multiple people can screen-share or stream at once 

✔️ File-sharing and group channels (organized by topic)

G2 rating: N/A

Free plan details: Most features are available on a free plan that only requires users to create an account. Discord Nitro ($9.99/user/month) offers HD screen sharing and file sharing for up to 100 MB.

Verdict: Discord servers have a lot of potential applications once channels are fully set up and processes become automated. That said, most people would use this platform for more casual team gatherings (e.g. socials, lunch break hangs, working sessions) versus meetings, especially because features like scheduling, recording, and transcription aren’t available. 

7. Brave Talk 

Brave Talk is an extension of the open-source browser Brave, with video conferencing that focuses on simplicity, privacy, and security.

Top features:

✔️ Browser-based tool (but you need to download the Brave browser to initiate calls)

✔️ No length limit on calls (for up to 4 people on the free version) 

✔️ Strict privacy (nothing linking you to a call)

G2 rating: N/A

Free plan details: The free version supports up to four people on unlimited calls; the premium version ($7/user/mo) offers features like call recording, participant muting, and calls for larger groups. A lack of calendar integration could make this harder to use for business, and no transcription feature is available (although you can enable subtitles). 

Verdict: While you might want to try this tool for smaller team meetings or one-on-ones (especially if you're a fan of the Brave browser!), it might not scale well for all your team meetings due to a lack of business features.

What’s the best Google Meet alternative for remote teams?

Google Meet is a great tool for quick and convenient video calls. But if you want to take your meetings to the next level, sign up for Vowel — its automated live transcription, instant recordings, collaborative notes, and post-meeting recaps make all your meetings more productive and inclusive.