Due to the global pandemic, Google lifted the 60-minute group video call restriction for free Meet users over this past year. Now, anyone using a standard, non-Workspace Google account will no longer have that benefit. Starting just a few weeks ago, anyone who isn’t paying per month for a Workspace subscription will now be cut off at the one-hour mark regardless of whether or not they’re finished with their meeting.
Luckily, the company will prompt meeting participants 5 minutes prior to the cut-off that they are almost out of time, even giving them the option to upgrade their account. If nothing else, unfettered access to Meet has served as a reprieve during the struggles that COVID-19 brought about, and if anything else, it’s potentially enticed many new users to onboard into Workspace after having a taste of what the software is capable of. Do keep in mind that Workspace Individual just launched and you can even get a 2-week free trial up front! Thereafter, if you like it (and I think you will), it’s only $9.99 per month. Right now, you can actually save 20% until January 2022 ($7.99 USD per month initially).
Should you wish to remain on a free Google account, you can still do 1-to-1 video calls with Meet at no cost, and with no restrictions aside from the 24-hour time limit per meeting. Technically, if you only subscribe to Workspace Individual for group calls and you aren’t really using many of the other Google services, that’s ten bucks per month for video calls, but I can guarantee you’ll be using at least Gmail and other core services in addition, so it’s a good value with all of its added benefits anyway.
Google did give a forewarning about group calls for free accounts being restricted to 60 minutes when September ended but went on to extend it twice – once to March 31, 2021, and the second time to June 30. If you’ve experienced this cutoff and weren’t sure why, well, there you have it. Are you sticking with a free Google account, or will you be trying out Workspace Individual? It gives you individuals such as small business owners and entrepreneurs improved productivity tools such as appointment scheduling and a slew of premium Meet features.