In light of COVID-19 driving all communication online, 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 detailed the new limitation.

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.

Google did not bump it again before July, and free Gmail users now have to live with one key group Meet limit. “Calls with 3 or more participants” are limited to 60 minutes.

Tip: 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.

That said, one-on-one calls can continue to run for up to 24 hours on free and enterprise accounts. The upgrade mentioned by Google is the $9.99 per month Workspace Individual tier that just launched in five countries. If the hosts upgrade, calls can run for up to a day.

In practice, most users will be fine with the one-to-one duration, but the group limitation might be annoying as group catch-up/family calls very easily run over 60 minutes. That period is rather reminiscent of work dynamics that do not really map to the personal sphere. It’s not the greatest inconvenience, however, to generate another Meet link.

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Thanks Kevin

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