The move is an attempt to limit the impact of free users on their overall network.
When the COVID-19 pandemic drove everyone online the demand for videoconferencing skyrocketed. It was then that Google seemed to rise to the occasion as a good corporate citizen. Everyone with a Gmail account would be able to use their Google Meet service for free, they said. Free Google Meet users with personal Gmail accounts could take advantage of group calls without a duration limit over the past year. That benefit ended at the start of this month, and Google has made it official, according to 9to5Google.
When Meet became available for all users in April of 2020, Google said it wouldn’t enforce a 60-minute time limit on calls until September 30. That deadline for group calls that could run all day long was later extended to March 31, 2021, and again to June 30. The meeting host’s status determines the video call limits.
According to Google’s published Meet requirements, free users can do 1-to-1 video chats for 24 hours. But group calls are capped at 100 participants and a 60-minute duration.
“At 55 minutes, everyone gets a notification that the call is about to end. To extend the call, the host can upgrade their Google account. Otherwise, the call will end at 60 minutes.” Google’s paid account offering, Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), has many tiers that lift these requirements.
Google is not alone in capping free users. Zoom’s free tier caps 100 participants at 40-minute meetings. Microsoft Teams limits free users to 100-persons and 60-minutes.