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Google Meet Imposes A 1-Hour Meeting Limit…And Other Small Business Tech News

By July 18, 2021July 19th, 2021No Comments

(This article originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 —Google Meet put the clamps on free users by imposing a 1-hour meeting limit.

Google will now be limiting group video calls for its free users to one hour, officially ending the promotion the company ran during the pandemic which previously limited group video calls to 24 hours. Initially, Google Meet was supposed to provide unlimited video calls from the time it launched in April of 2020 until the end of September of last year. However, Google extended the deadline two times. The free version of Google Meet still allows more flexibility as compared to Zoom’s free version by allowing up to 100 participants for a one-hour meeting, whereas Zoom has a limit participation of 100 guests for a 40 minute meeting. (Source: ARS Technica)

Why this is important for your business:

I’ve been using all the video conferences heavily over the past year and I am going to now publicly say that I like Google Meet the best just for its ease of connection and quality of both video and audio. That said, Zoom is still excellent and provides more tools for meetings than Google currently does. Microsoft Teams has, in my experience, been less consistent and more difficult to deal with, particularly when my corporate clients are initiating meetings that require Microsoft sign-ins.

2 — Twilio unveiled new tools for live audio and video streaming.

Twilio rolled out a new launch this week for its cloud-based platform that will assist businesses with embedding interactive, live video and audio streaming directly into their apps. The new offering— called Twilio Live— is currently available in beta and will make customer engagement more of a central focus for the company. (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your business:

Twilio has become a very popular messaging service for many of my small business clients and with these additions it’s turning into itself into a very powerful platform for a business that wants better customer service through collaboration – which now includes both video and audio streaming. Twilio Live is geared toward various industries such as education, gaming, and retail.

3 —Square is planning a new iPad POS with tap-to-pay according to a report.

According to a new report, Square is developing a new point of sale (POS) system for iPad that will have a tap-to-pay function. The newest version of Square Stand will directly integrate the technology, allowing for a more efficient process than the previous version which required an external device. Retailers pay a 2.6% fee for each transaction, in addition to 10 cents each time consumers dip, tap, or swipe. Currently Square is $169, although the report did not include a cost for the newest system. (Source: Pymnts)

Why this is important for your business:

Square has gone from a credit card payment platform to a full-blown player in the point-of-sale technology industry, used by thousands of small merchants around the world. These upgrades will certainly keep it among the leaders and its offering should be considered by any merchant looking to implement or even replace their existing POS system.

4 — Zoho is launching a business intelligence platform infused with AI.

This past week, Zoho announced its new AI infused business intelligence platform that will include tools to help with data prep, negating the need for businesses and organizations to separately get the tools. The new platform— known as Zoho Business Intelligence Platform— will combine a heightened version of Zoho Analytics, Zoho Show Presentation, and Zoho Sites portal builder with Zoho DataPrep. The company’s goal is to streamline and simplify sharing data and analytics using a visual dashboard while also allowing users to build and run queries alongside data that uses either the conversational AI platform ZIA or graphical tools. (Source: Venture Beat)

Why this is important for your business:

Full disclosure: my company is a partner of Zoho. We sell their products and I’m big fan of the company. Regardless, this news is another example of yet another popular small business software company that is doubling down on analytics and reporting to deliver the best data possible for its users wherever they are. My clients have spent years accumulating terabytes of valuable data and they all complain of the lack of reporting tools available to truly leverage that data. This should certainly help.

5—Microsoft puts Windows in the cloud and adds integration and more apps to Dynamics 365.

Microsoft is rolling out Windows 365, which is a new service that will work on any updated web browser, allowing businesses to have access to Cloud PCs from various devices. Only businesses will have access to Windows 365 under a per-user, per-month subscription cost. The service will launch on August 2nd and details on pricing have not yet been made available. Microsoft will also be integrating new Teams features with Dynamics 365. (Source: The Verge and XDA)

Why this is important for your business:

This is big news for Windows users because it means you can use any device regardless of whether Windows is installed and, via Microsoft’s cloud service, have full access to your Windows desktop and experience as if you’re sitting at your desk.  The new integrations will streamline collaboration processes for businesses, allowing users to troubleshoot, share information, and work together in Teams chat.

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