Google Meet now blocks anonymous users by default to prevent ‘zoombombing’

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In a nutshell: Zoombombing has been an unfortunate side effect of the increased reliance on virtual learning tools. Google is mitigating the issue by disallowing anonymous. The feature will be on by default and should be a breath of fresh air for teachers who frequently use Google Meet as their classroom.

Part of coping with the current Covid-19 pandemic has been to shift classroom education to online learning. Unfortunately, Zoom’s wide adoption led to “zoombombing”, where strangers would join random Zoom conference calls and potentially do inappropriate things. Google is mitigating that with an update to its G Suite for Education customers.

Meet, Google’s competitor to Zoom, will not allow anonymous users to join meetings by default. Attendees must be signed into their Google accounts. This feature is directed at educators as the possibility of strangers disrupting an active class could be devastating for children. Google’s blog post mentions that for now, this new default behavior is only in G Suite for Education customers.

Web conferencing app usage has skyrocketed in recent months, particularly with Zoom. The company went from 10 million daily active users in December 2019 to 300 million this past April. Unfortunately, the sharable links to Zoom calls were accessible to anyone with the URL. Zoom responded by enabling passwords and waiting rooms by default.

While many schools use Zoom for online learning, G Suite for Education is still a popular collaboration tool for many school districts. Google holds about 60 percent of the education market, more than Apple and Microsoft combined. The rise of Chromebooks and free tools like Google Classroom give Google an advantage.

The new security settings will be rolling out gradually over the next 15 days. While it is on by default, it is not a setting that can be changed by users. The only way to turn it off is to contact G Suite Support.



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