Recording meetings is a great idea in a remote work environment, because you'll always have a point of reference to go back to if you need it. And you can share and provide context to team members in different time zones who couldn't make the meeting.
Unfortunately, recording can be a pain on some of the bigger video-conferencing platforms like Zoom and Google Meet, because a) you usually need to be on a paid plan, b) you have to be an admin to enable recording (and be a meeting host to start recording a meeting) and c) there's no easy way to organize and find what you need from recordings.
In both tools, there’s also a wait time to process cloud recordings and it can be a little clunky to find, share, and manage them.
Let's review how to record meetings on Meet and Zoom and what you need to know to about the recordings and add-ons. Then we'll show you an easier way to record your meetings on the same platform you host them on.
⏺️ How to record meetings on Google Meet
First, some bad news: You can’t record meetings with the free version of Google Meet. At minimum, you’ll need a Google Workspace Business Standard account for $12/month/user.
There are some ways around this with other third-party screen recording add-ons, but they can be an extra cost *and* you’ll need to invite a third-party “bot” to the meeting, which can be kind of weird. More on that below.
You also need the proper permissions to record. Only administrators of your Google Workspace account can enable recordings from the Google Admin console. Under Meet video settings from Apps > Google Workspace > Google Meet, click Recording and check or uncheck the Let people record their meetings box.
Note: Let’s say you’re joining a meeting whose organizer is not from your organization. In this case, you won’t be able to record the meeting. Same goes if your organization hasn’t granted you permission to record a meeting.
Here’s how to record directly from Google Meet on desktop (not available on mobile) once you have the proper permissions:
Join your Google Meet meeting
Find the Activities icon in the bottom-right corner of your screen. Click on it and click Recording. You’ll see a pop up reminding you to ask all participants permission to record the meeting. When you’re done with your meeting, click on Activities > Recording > Stop Recording
If you’re the meeting organizer, you can access your Google Meet recordings in your Google Drive by clicking on My Drive > Meet Recordings. If you’re not the meeting organizer but you started the recording, you’ll receive a link to the recording via email after the meeting is over. You’ll be able to share the recording with others from this link.
To share the meeting link with other participants, click More > Share when you access the recording. Enter user names or email addresses and click Done. After the meeting is shared, all participants can view the meeting by downloading the MP4 to their devices.
Other things to know about Google Meet recordings:
If you’ve used live captions during a meeting, the captions won't be recorded and aren’t displayed when you play the recording.
Chats are captured as part of the meeting recording, but they’re saved as a separate .SBV file in the meeting organizer's Google Drive.
Transcripts only work when recording files are played by a separate media player that displays them, like VLC. If you want transcriptions with the recordings on Google Meet, you need to get a transcription add-on like Otter.
⏺️ How to record meetings on Zoom
Unlike Google Meet, you can record your meetings on Zoom’s free plan. But you only get access to local recordings – aka recordings saved on your computer as MP4 files — and they won't be saved to the cloud.
On Zoom’s Pro and Business plans, you get 1GB of cloud recording storage space per license, which equates to roughly 2-5 hours of recorded video, depending on quality. Storage is 10GB on Zoom’s Business Plus plan at $250/user/year.
By default, only the meeting host or co-host can initiate a local or cloud recording, which means other attendees will only get access to the recording if the host shares it after the meeting.
Here’s how to record on Zoom once you have the proper permissions:
Join your Zoom meeting
Click the Record button on the bottom toolbar to start the recording (a “Recording in progress” voice notification will let everyone on the call know that you’re doing so). Pause or stop recording via the buttons in the top left corner of the screen or on the bottom toolbar (you’ll get a voice notification when you pause or stop, too).
If you chose to save your recording locally: Once you end your first recording, Zoom asks for permission to create a new recording folder on your computer. If you accept, a new file path is created, and a Zoom folder is embedded inside it.
If you chose to save your recording to the cloud: You’ll get a notification at the end of the meeting that the recording will be emailed to you when it’s done processing (this can take anywhere from a few minutes to more than hour, depending on the length of meeting and quality).
To share your cloud recordings, find the meeting file you want to share on the Zoom client app and click Share. A page will pop up with options to share your recording publicly, add an expiry date to your link, allow downloads, and more. After the meeting is shared, all participants can view the recording by downloading the MP4 to their devices.
Other things to know about Zoom recordings:
You have to be on a Business or Enterprise plan to access recording transcripts, and an admin has to enable this feature. If you’re on a Zoom Basic or Pro plan, you’ll get a downloadable closed captioning file (if you turned on CC in the meeting). There’s no speaker identification with this file, so it’s not as useful as a full meeting transcript.
Using a third-party recording tool with Google Meet or Zoom
For users who don’t have a paid Google Workspace or Zoom account, you can still record meetings with a separate screen recording tool or add-on. But you’ll need to sign up and process the recordings through that tool, which can be time-consuming. And it usually costs more $$.
Here are three options:
1. Descript is a tool that makes editing audio and video easy, offering a screen recording tool that’s enough to get you what you need if you can’t record a meeting directly through Google Meet or Zoom. Descript’s free plan offers unlimited screen recordings, but it’s limited to three hours of transcription.
2. Rewatch is a video hub that lets you sync and import Zoom or Google Meet meetings into one place with transcription. There's no free plan — Rewatch starts at $6/user/month for 500GB of storage.
3. tl;dv is a Chrome extension you can use to record and transcribe conversations from Google Meet or Zoom. tl;dv’s free plan gives you text transcripts, but you’ll need to pay $20/month for video recording.
There’s a better way to record your video meetings: Vowel!
If you want to use a video-conferencing tool that lets you painlessly record meetings and access them instantly afterward, try Vowel.
Vowel provides browser-based video conferencing, similar to Google Meet, but it's also so much more: agendas, live transcription, collaborative notes, instant recordings, meeting recaps, bookmarks, and clip sharing.
Vowel has redesigned video meetings from the ground up so you can:
Record and transcribe, even on a free plan. Anyone in the meeting can hit the record button (and pause the recording to go off the record).
Access recordings instantly. Cloud recordings are shared in each meeting attendees' Recent folder right after the meeting ends (including the transcription, notes, and summary — no downloading!). *Note: If someone is a guest to a meeting (and not a workspace member), the meeting is not automatically shared.
Easily search or find content from meetings via bookmarks, time-stamped notes, or the X-ray speaker view in recordings. You even get a post-meeting summary every time you hang up!
Zoom or Google Meet are fine to use if you don’t need to refer back to meetings you've had (or use the content from those meetings later). But let's face it — recording on both of these tools isn't a super easy or useful experience.
If you want to 10x the value of your meetings — and get more juice from the squeeze! — start hosting and recording meetings on Vowel for free. It's everything you need to turn meetings into searchable, shareable knowledge for your team.