What you need to know
- Zoom is lifting its limits on free calls for the winter holiday period.
- The company will now let users make unlimited free calls during Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year's Day.
- The move has been praised by some professors, with some advocating other similarly situated companies echo it.
Christmas 2020 is bound to be a very different Christmas for most people. Unless you're living in New Zealand, you'll likely be discouraged from meeting up with your local government as the coronavirus pandemic continues around the world.
Zoom, a video calling solution which rose to prominence as a result of increased reliance on social networking has now offered to temporarily lift its calling limits for the holiday season. Typically, free users have a 40-minute cap, but that'll be going away for a limited period.
The company will be removing these restrictions at the following dates and times in appreciation of Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and New Year's Day:
- 10 a.m. ET Thursday, Dec. 17, to 6 a.m. ET Saturday, Dec. 19
- 10 a.m. ET Wednesday, Dec. 23, to 6 a.m. ET Saturday, Dec. 26
- 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Dec. 30, to 6 a.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 2
Google has offered a similar concession with its Meet service. The company earlier lifted limits on meetings in the earlier half of the year but has now extended this free period through March 2021. Duo remains free, and if you're willing to go outside Google, Facebook offers multiple solutions with Rooms, Messenger, and WhatsApp.
This move has been received positively by some academics. Stephen Reicher, a professor of social psychology at the University of St Andrews told The Guardian that this was an example other tech companies that offered remote social networking services could follow, going on to explain:
They could ask various sectors (especially those that have done well in the pandemic) to help out in a whole series of ways – say give the latest games to young people asked to self-isolate. The problem then – and I speak as the father of a 16-year-old – would be ever to get them out of their rooms rather than trying to keep them in. Or, say, free connection over Christmas so everyone can keep in touch as much as they like without data limits.
Whatever your preferred video calling service, there are certainly going to be a lot of ways to keep in touch this holiday season.