Google Meet users with a free Gmail account can no longer make unlimited-duration group video calls. According to a recently updated Google support page, free users will have group video calls capped at an hour (via). Earlier, that limit was 24 hours, or perhaps there was no real limit at all. One-on-one calls can still go on for the full day though, and so can group calls initiated by paying Meet users.
According to Google, all participants of a group video call started by a free Google Meet user will get a notification that the call is about to end 55 minutes into the call. The host will need to upgrade their account to a paid plan, which starts at $6 per month, if they want to continue the conference, for up to 24 hours. Otherwise, it will end five minutes later, i.e. at 60 minutes. Of course, you can always start another group call that will let you remotely connect for one more hour.
There’s no change to the participant limit though. So free users can still add up to 100 participants to a meeting, including themselves. For paying users, Google offers up to 250 participants in a video call depending on their Google Workspace edition.
Google has ended unlimited group video calls for free Meet users
Google made Meet free for everyone in April last year, as the COVID-19 pandemic showed the importance of video-conferencing platforms. At that time, the platform didn’t have any duration limits in place for group video calls for free users. All Meet calls were allowed to run all day long.
However, the company said it will impose a one-hour limit at the end of September. But, since the COVID-19 pandemic continued to affect human lives throughout last year, Google extended that deadline to March 2021, and again to June 2021. It appears there will not be any more extensions.
A one-hour limit should not be a problem for most users though. Many companies usually try to keep meetings under one hour long. But for people casually catching up on Meet, talks sometimes can continue for hours. This limit might be annoying in such cases.
Nonetheless, Google Meet is still more generous than the other popular video conferencing platform Zoom on this front. The latter caps group calls to just 40 minutes for free users. Microsoft Teams, meanwhile, allows free users to make group video calls for up to an hour. All three platforms have a 100-participants limit in place.