With online classes becoming the new normal for students, video conferencing services are constantly adding new features to make the service more user friendly and secure. Talking about security, the term “Zoombombing” became popular as students started using the platform to disrupt the class by exploiting the features made available to them, for instance using the share screen feature that isn’t locked by the host to display sexually explicit content or inviting unknown users to have access to the meeting who in turn cause disturbance. In the light of this, Google is set to add new security features in its Google Meet video conferencing service to protect educator subscribers. As announced by Google, anonymous users will be blocked from Google Meet for G Suite for Education meetings by default.
An anonymous user is categorized by Google as someone who isn’t signed in with a Google account. Anonymous users will not be allowed able to join meeting organised by a licensed G Suite Educator or G Suite Enterprise Educator, preventing participants from sharing the invite link publicly. Even if someone still manages to crash the meeting, they will be known by the Google account they used to gain access. The feature is in place by default, but can be disabled with the permission of G Suite Support, requested only by the admin.
Google Meet competitor, Zoom, which gave us the term “Zoombombing”, had also introduced new security features in its last 5.0 update in April. For example, letting the admin lock meetings once everyone has joined, remove participants, restrict sharing, and also turned passwords on by default to restrict who can access their meetings. Zoom is definitely one step ahead when compared to other Video Conferencing services. However, the new security update by Google is a great step towards expansion. The changes are due to go into effect over the next 15 days, before July ends.