Google is trying hard to make Meet a video conferencing competitor by adding a torrent of new features in quick succession. After making premium features free at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Google is now extending free, unlimited Meet calls into next year for Gmail accounts.

At the start of March, Google said premium Hangouts Meet features — 250-person meetings, internal live streaming, and call recording to Drive — would be free for all G Suite customers rather than restricting some capabilities to higher (paid) tiers. 

A month later, when Meet went free for regular users and was integrated with Gmail, Google said it wouldn’t enforce a 60-minute time limit until September 30. By all accounts, the company was not going to extend that deadline any further.

A day before the policy change, Google said on Tuesday that it’s continuing unlimited Meet calls for free Gmail users into next year. There is a 24-hour technical limitation that most should not encounter, but this is definitely a turnaround for the company to make Meet a competitive offering for regular users. 

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. 

Google touts the busy holiday season as the reason for extending unlimited calls to March 31.

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