How Google Meet Met Demand During The Pandemic

  • AUTHOR: dua
  • POSTED ON: August 18, 2020

The demand for teleconferencing services boomed during the pandemic and this is how Google Meet bulked up the capacity to meet demands for online meetings!

Apparently, Google Meet managed to get 100 million participants during the pandemic! The staff site reliability engineer at Google – Samantha Schaevitz, explained the situation in a blog post.

She said that due to pandemic no doubt the world has been a more physically distant one and many people are now seeking online video conferencing in order to maintain educational, social and workplace contact. The growing impact of the coronavirus has made people look for various services like Google Meet to stay in touch.

As we know, the virus emerged from China’s city of Wuhan in December last year. By January 23rd there was a travel ban on the residents on Wuhan but the storm had already spread.
In February Google Meet’s Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) team was notified about the regional capacity problems after which they began their mission to beat this issue.

“Because Google’s user-facing services are built with redundancy, these alerts didn’t indicate ongoing user-visible issues. But it soon became clear that usage of the product in Asia was trending sharply upward.”
Schaevitz explains.

She added: “The SRE team began working with the capacity planning team to find additional resources to handle this increase, but it became obvious that we needed to start planning further ahead, for the eventuality that the epidemic would spread beyond the region.”

When Italy went on lock down, the real horror began. Everyone in the world was confused, but this is also the time when the usage of Google Meet picked up. All the residents of Italy were working from home, and for that, they opted for this app!

Source: The Verge 

“Most of the social effects of COVID-19 were unknown or very difficult to predict. Our mission was abstract: we needed to prevent any outages for what had become a critical product for large amounts of new users while scaling the system without knowledge of where the growth would come from and when it would level off.” – Schaevitz wrote.

By late March, everyone had begun working from home – including Google workers. This meant that all of them didn’t have the luxury to sit in one room and collaborate on this mission. Hence, to manage communication channels effectively was challenging. There was a lack of communication as well as information in the initial stages.

This is the time when Incident commanders, communications leads and operations leads were appointed in North America and Europe. Around the same time, Schaevitz was made the incident commander.

All of them tried their best to manage the increase in demand for Google Meet. Work streams were set up and control knobs were present to manage production charges. Google has 21 data centers globally and they were being used to double the accessibility of Google Meet. However, the problem was the lack of resources to achieve the 50x growth forecast.

To make the service efficient Schaevitz said: “The most requests handled at the cheapest resource cost, without sacrificing user experience or reliability of the system.”

And because of these steps, the zoom rival reached 100 million participants on a daily basis. In April, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that the tech giant was aiming for a 3 million user base. By June, there were 600 million daily meeting participants every single week on Google Meet.

Updated August 18, 2020
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