Back in late April of this year as the pandemic was raging on, Google made the decision to not only bring Meet to the masses (anyone with a Google account, not just G Suite users), but to offer it up completely for free with no limits on the number of people in a call or on the length of those calls. It was a bold move and based on the uptick in Google Meet adoption, it was the right move, too.
When Google made the decision to open the floodgates, it did so with the expectation that the unlimited calls on free accounts would expire on September 30th. Back in April, that felt like plenty of time to give users the flexibility they would need to weather the storm. Surely by October we’d be nearly done with COVID-19, right?
Well, as it turns out, Google has changed course a bit in response to most people bracing for the 60-minute limit to return to Google Meet in free accounts. Just a few days ago, Google was clear that they didn’t have anything to add regarding the September 30th cutoff when asked directly by The Verge. However, a few days makes a big difference, and it seems Google has reconsidered some things in that time span.
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. As a sign of our commitment, today we’re continuing unlimited Meet calls (up to 24 hours) in the free version through March 31, 2021 for Gmail accounts.via The Keyword
It’s a simple show of goodwill on Google’s part and obviously a play to keep their chat service relevant in a time where more people are leveraging video chats than ever before. Assuming things start slowly returning to normal by the spring of 2021, Google may limit calls to 60 minutes for free accounts once again, but I’d imagine they’ll revisit the need at that time and, if necessary, extend it once again. For now, however, feel free to hop in those marathon chats as much as needed.