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Google Meet is rocketing in growth, but the company's latest tactic to beat video-chat rival Zoom could mean even more scrutiny from antitrust regulators (GOOG, GOOGL)

Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during the keynote address of the Google I/O conference in Mountain View, Calif., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
  • Google Meet, the company's video conference service, is seeing tremendous growth, but the company is also using some questionable tactics to promote its software over rivals like Zoom.
  • Google has starred including a large Google Meet button in Google Calendar events to push users to its app, even when those events already include a Zoom link. Many users say they're hitting the Google Meet button by mistake.
  • It could be used as ammo against the company, which is currently under scrutiny from multiple ongoing investigations into possible antitrust violations.
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Google Meet, the company's video chat app, is seeing tremendous growth, which has undoubtedly been helped by Google making the service completely free to everyone.
However, eyebrows are being raised over some of the tactics Google is using to catch up with rival Zoom, which continues to prove more popular. Chiefly, Google has started inserting a large button into all Google Calendar events, inviting users to connect through its Meet software.
But it's causing some users to accidentally create or join a Google Meet call, even when a Zoom call was already set up.
The Meet button will appear regardless of whether the calendar invitation includes a link to a Zoom call or not. Zoom also has a Chrome extension that adds a Zoom call button to the calendar event. But Google's Meet button, which is larger and always sits above Zoom's, will be added even when the Zoom button is present.
Several Google Calendar users told Business Insider that they had accidentally hit the Meet button when trying to join a Zoom call.

There is a way to turn it off. If you head into your Google Calendar settings you'll see an option for 'Automatically add Google Meet video conferences to events I create,' which is enabled by default. You can click the box to turn it off.
But some users think that having it opt-out rather than opt-in — even when a Zoom link is clearly added — is a bit too aggressive. Tim Wu, an attorney who specializes in antitrust law, called Google's tactics "risky."
Google did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment.
Calendar is Google's own product, so there's an argument that it can promote Meet as it wishes, and could argue that video calling is a core component of Calendar meetings. But pushing its own products above competitors has landed the company in hot water in the past. In 2017, the European Commission slapped a hefty €2.4 billion fine on the company for promoting its Google Shopping results over comparative results from rivals.
Promoting its Meet video app over Zoom might not be on the same level, but it comes just as multiple antitrust investigations into Google's business are possibly gearing up to bring lawsuits against the company.
Google and Zoom have both offered video chat services for quite some time, but the pandemic has accelerated an arms race between the two companies.
During Google Q1 results call last month, CEO Sundar Pichai said that Google Meet was growing at a pace of 3 million new users a day. Android Police also just reported that the Google Meet app has now surpassed 50 million installs on the Google Play Store.
Last month, Google banned the use of the Zoom app on employees' computers, citing security concerns as the reason. A Google spokesperson told Business Insider that employees were still able to use Zoom on company devices via the browser or on mobile.
SEE ALSO: Google may soon face a pair of major antitrust lawsuits, as probes wind down into the company's ad and search dominance
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