Google Meet’s deadline for free video calls lasting up to 24 hours has gotten another extension.
The past year has transformed video chat apps from a “nice to have” to an essential part of daily life. While the world now appears to be slowly, but surely, emerging from the pandemic and related lockdown, many people are still not able to head back to the office or see friends and family in person.
With that in mind, Google has extended the availability of longer Google Meet calls for free users. Spotted by Engadget, free users can participate in chats lasting up to one full day through the end of June 2021.
Not Just G Suite Customers
Google Meet is a video-communication service created by (no surprises here!) Google. It was introduced, along with Google Chat, as one of the apps designed to replace Google Hangouts.
Prior to April 2020, users who wanted Google Meet had to purchase a G Suite plan. However, that month Google introduced a free version that was available to anyone who signed up for a Gmail or Google account. It meant that free users were able to create and join Google Meet calls, as well as add up to 100 participants for video calls—all without paying a penny.
As Google noted at the time, this came at a juncture at which Google Meet’s usage was rapidly increasing, no doubt at least partially due to the coronavirus pandemic, and more work from home orders.
“Since January, we’ve seen Meet’s peak daily usage grow by 30x,” Google wrote in a May 2020 blog post. “As of this month, Meet is hosting 3 billion minutes of video meetings and adding roughly 3 million new users every day.”
Extending the Deadline
Google Meet’s free tier didn’t have all the bells and whistles perks of the G Suite version.
The G Suite version allows for a maximum of 250 participants in a call, offers record and save functionality for calls, and features live-streaming for up to 100,000 viewers. It also allows users to speak for more than 60 minutes at a time. However, when Google Meet went free it opted to delay the introduction of this latter time limit until September 30, 2020. This date then changed to March 31, 2021, before finally being pushed back to the end of June.
Whether that genuinely proves the last time Google extends the deadline remains to be seen. Nonetheless, it’s a positive move to make on behalf of customers—even if it does hammer home just how long folks have been living in the current coronavirus climate.
In this article we explain what Google Meet is, how it works, and how it compares to Google Hangouts and Google Chat.
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