What you need to know
- In response to the rise of video-conferencing apps like Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic, Google Meet went free earlier this year.
- It was supposed to be a temporary extension, lasting through September 30th.
- Google has now extended Meet's free period through March 2021.
Earlier this year, Google lifted the limits it had placed on the free version of Meet in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, it would now allow Meet users to hold meetings for longer than the 60-minute limit it had previously imposed.
The company had said that these limits were only lifted temporarily and would be replaced in the fall on September 30th. A day before that deadline, it's extending that expanded service through March 2021.
Samir Pradhan, Group Product Manager, Google Meet, wrote today:
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.
There is technically still a limit, but you'll need to be a really intense talker to hit the 24-hour limit. Otherwise, you'll be able to use Meet for most purposes without paying a penny till March.
Google probably hopes that'll be enough to convince users of its merits over Zoom. The latter already has the mindshare, but "free" is how Google has won other battles in the past, and free is how it's choosing to fight this one too.