It might be time to cut down on those video chats, as Google has announced that their web conferencing app Meet will now be imposing 60-minute time limits on free users.
Video chat has exploded in recent months due to the pandemic, and no one is surprised. With people stuck in their homes, quarantined away from friends and family, these apps have been a pleasant respite during these uncertain times, with companies offering more affordable services in turn.
Now, however, it seems those uncertain times have run their course, as Google's free video conferencing app is set to implement time limits at the end of the month.
Google Meet Adds 60-Minute Limit
In April, Google made the business-focused Meet app free for all users, stipulating that it would provide the app time limit-free until September 30th due to the pandemic. Unfortunately, despite the pandemic still being around, Google hasn't issued an extension and will implement the 60-minute time limit on Wednesday.
“We don’t have anything to communicate regarding changes to the promo and advanced features expiring,” said a Google spokesperson to The Verge. “If this changes, we’ll be sure to let you know.”
To be fair, Google Meet has been generous without a time limit in recent months, and even the 60-minute time limit is well above the industry standard of 40-50 minutes found on competitors like Zoom and GoToMeeting.
Other Free Google Meet Features Expiring
While the time limit is obviously one of the more notable features changing on September 30th, it's not the only thing free users are going to have to get used to in October, as many advanced features will be exclusively available through paid plans.
For one, you will no longer be able to host meetings with 250 participants, nor host live-streams for up to 10,000 people on a single domain. Additionally, Google won't allow free users to save meeting recordings on Google Drive, unless they pay for the $25 per month “Enterprise” plan.
Simply put, it's back to the standard rules of free web conferencing solutions for Google, much to the chagrin of free users.
Google Meet's Pandemic Success
Making Google Meet free for all users, without time limits and including advanced features, was obviously an attempt to capture Zoom's magic as the pandemic hit, even amidst some serious privacy concerns.
However, even with a lack of time limits and all these additional features offered for free, Google Meet just couldn't break into the market like Zoom did. Whether it be because of the virtual backgrounds, the intuitive interface, or the lack of connectivity issues, Zoom just skyrocketed to the top of everyone's web conferencing wishlist and never left.
Still, Google Meet has done pretty well during the pandemic despite the competition. In April, the company reported that they had reached 100 million daily users, so they clearly are doing well enough.
Google Meet Alternatives
The 60-minute time limit and nixed advanced features in Google Meet are far from a dealbreaker, particularly considering the rest of the industry has many of the same rules in place.
However, if you're peeved enough to want to switch from Google Meet, the good news is there are plenty of alternatives for you to take advantage of. From RingCentral to Skype, you'll have no trouble finding a stellar alternative that might even have fewer connectivity problems.
Take a look at the table below to get a clearer picture of what free web conferencing solutions are out in the world for you, and don't take it out too much on Google.
Average rating given by iOS and Android users in App Store and Google Play Store reviews
Ease of use
Huge feature catalogue
G Suite compatibility
Google Chrome lovers
Comprehensive setup process
Too few participants allowed