The past year and a half have seen video calling and tele-conferencing platforms like Google Meet and Zoom become a household name, as people took to working remotely and in-person meetings went in for a decline due to social distancing norms. While Zoom has always had a 40-minute cap on its meetings, Google Meet was different in allowing all users to continue the meeting for hours on end, without being cut off. Now however, Google Meet too, has put a 60-minute cap on group video call for non-paying users, that is, those users who have a free Gmail account. The change came into effect starting July 1st this year.
Shifted To March, Then To June
While this move may be a bummer for one too many people who had been relying on the free service, it’s still better than what Google Meet used to be prior to the pandemic. Available only to paying members of G-Suite, the application was opened to all users, with “unlimited” group calls for free.
Google Meet had to introduce the 60-minute cap back in September 2020, but was pushed back to March 2021 as the pandemic carried on. This year, the deadline was pushed back a second time, till June 30. The cap finally came into force starting July this year.
Only For Group Calls
Interestingly, the limit has been introduced only for group calls, and that too, only for non-paying or free users. One-to-one calls can still be carried out for an unlimited period of time, and the feature is available to both paying and non-paying customers.
Should individuals want to continue making group calls for extended periods of time through Google Meet however, they will now have to pay a monthly fees of $7.99 for a subscription to Google Workspace.
Upgrade To Extend The Meeting
The limit has been in practice for two months now, and non-paying Gmail account users receive a notification at 55 minutes, ahead of the group call being cut off. The notification informs customers that their group call is about to end. In order to extend the call, the host needs to upgrade to the paid Google account.
Available for both iOS and Android, Google Meet offers a stiff competition to Zoom and Microsoft Teams, by bringing in a number of similar features, including an allowance for up to 100 participants in a video conference, the ability to screen-share, and the option to schedule meetings beforehand.