Google announced that users of its video-communication service, Google Meet, will be able to enjoy unlimited video calls until June 30, 2021. Last year, the company had set the deadline of March 31, 2021. The extended deadline will incentivise Google Meet users to carry out their tasks while at home during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Why did Google Meet offer free unlimited video calls?
A majority of organisations encouraged their employees to work from their homes in 2020 due to the rapid pace of the COVID-19 pandemic. Google had made an announcement in March 2020 regarding the extension of unlimited Google Meet calls.
According to a tweet by the Google Workspace, “We’re continuing unlimited #GoogleMeet calls (up to 24 hours) in the free version through June 2021 for Gmail accounts → https://goo.gle/3fqLb7U”
The extension of unlimited Google Meet calls offered several premium services to all G Suite customers. The users could carry out online meetings with up to 250 members. They could conduct live streaming and save their recordings in Google Drive. Gradually, other companies also extended free video calling support e.g., Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex.
What are the features of the latest extension?
In 2020, Google had announced to place a 60-minute limit for free virtual calls effective from September 30, 2020. Considering the rise in the COVID-19 cases, the company was left with no choice but to extend the deadline to March 31. Now, the deadline is further extended till June 30, 2021.
The features of the unlimited Google Meet calls are as follows.
- After the integration of Google Meet into Gmail accounts, several innovative features were added like noise cancellation and blur background.
- With your free Gmail account, you can make virtual calls for up to 24 hours without paying any charges.
- Each Google Meet call can include up to 100 participants.
- Google Meet also offers the ability to schedule meetings and share your screen.
Once the deadline of June 30, 2021, comes to an end, each group call shall be restricted to a one-hour limit. To continue availing of the 24-hour group calling feature, users will have to upgrade to a paid plan.
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