Free Google Meet users get months-long extension on unlimited calls

30 Sep 2020

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The company confirmed that free Google Meet users will be able to get unlimited calls until March 2021.

While Zoom has made a name for itself as one of the most common working-from-home tools since the onset of Covid-19, Google Meet has also been adopted as a video chat platform by individuals and companies.

In April, Google rolled out its premium video-conferencing service for free for everyone with a Gmail account. Until today (30 September), free users could make calls unlimited in length as opposed to a maximum of 60 minutes.

But now, Google has said that Meet users working off free accounts will be given more time to access unlimited calls on the platform. In a blog post, Google Meet group product manager Samir Pradhan said that the company has extended the cut-off date to 31 March 2021 for free users with Gmail accounts.

More advanced features are also available for paying Google Meet customers.

“From book clubs, band practices and dance parties – millions of you have turned to Meet to connect safely over video,” Pradhan said.

“As we look ahead to a holiday season with less travel and important milestones like family reunions, PTA meetings and weddings hosted over video, we want to continue helping those who rely on Meet to stay in touch over the coming months.”

The video-conferencing platform has also added some new features in recent months. These include the ability to cast your calls to a TV through a Chromecast device, turn on a background blur feature to hide anything you might not want people to see in the background, and allowing up to 49 people on a single call.

The news comes a few days after Meet and other Google services such as Drive, Docs, Analytics and Calendar experienced an outage. At around 4am Irish time on 25 September, Google issued a statement saying: “We experienced a short service disruption affecting several products including G Suite, and are now recovering.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic