Back in April Google made “Meet”, their premium video conferencing software free for everyone. The policy allowed users on the free plan to host meetings that longer than 60 minutes. This decision was influenced by the growing need for video conferencing platforms that was brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The policy was, however, set to expire on the 30th of September 2020 but Google Meet on its blog post announced that free plan meetings won’t be capped to an hour until March 2021.
“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”Samir Pradhan, Product Manager Google Meets
In addition to the extension Google has also added a number of features to the free plan:
- Casting calls to smart TVs
- Join meetings hands-free on Nest Hub Max
- Background blur
- Increasing the number of people on Trivia night feature to 50 (including the host)
The 30th of September wasn’t only the day when free plans were set to be capped to an hour. It was also the day when G Suite and G Suite for Education platforms were set to lose free access to same bonus Google Meet features. The features included hosting meetings for up to 250 participants and saving meeting recordings on to Google Drive. In a report by The Verge, Google will not be extending the free access period for those platforms.
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