Zoom to Drop 40-Minute Time Limit for Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, Zoom plans to allow users to use its free plan without the 40-minute time limit. Learn more here.
Conor Cawley

Your virtual Thanksgiving just got a little longer and less complicated, as Zoom has announced that its free plan will drop the 40-minute time limit during the holiday.

Let's be honest, no one is particularly excited that the holiday season is marred by the pandemic in such a significant way. Unfortunately, with cases and deaths rising at such an explosive rate in the US, business as usual is simply not the reasonable, safe approach to Thanksgiving this year.

Fortunately, Zoom is looking out for its socially distancing users by nixing the limit from its free plan, so family and friends can — at least virtually — spend some time together.

Zoom: No Time Limits on Thanksgiving

Announced in a tweet last week, Zoom has said it will do away with the 40-minute time limit that is standard in the free plan available from the video conferencing platform, and it should make the holidays a bit easier to manage for all socially distanced users.

The move is a kind one from what many consider the poster child for virtual communication amidst a global pandemic that continues to ravage the US. Zoom has seen unprecedented growth in the months since the coronavirus reared its ugly head, and this move to make a socially distanced holiday more enjoyable is another reason why it's the go-to option for so many. Well, that and those virtual backgrounds, of course.

Zoom Fatigue

While Zoom's decision provides its users with a limitless experience on Thanksgiving, it's worth noting that the video conferencing trend has begun to wear on some. Zoom fatigue has become a very real strain on the mental health of some users, and this limitless experience may not be the long term solution.

Studies have shown that everything from the lack of personal connection to the inclination to multitask can have more of a disconnecting effect than the alternative. In fact, the term has become part of everyday life now, with Google searches for the phrase increasing substantially since March.

The reality is that Zoom gatherings, meetings, and other events aren't the same as meeting in person, and it can be hard to understand how that affects your body. Still, during the holidays, when you're looking to jump on with as many family members as possible, doing away with the 40-minute time limit can make things infinitely easier, as long as you manage your mental health.

What about after Thanksgiving?

If you are excited about the lack of a time limit on Zoom this Thanksgiving, and want to enjoy more limitless video chats, you're in luck! While the free plan on Zoom saddles users with a 40-minute time limit, paid users are free to use the service for as long as they wish. Well, technically the paid Zoom plans come with a 30 hour time limit, but come on, who's trying to video chat instead of sleeping, right?

Additionally, Zoom isn't the only video conferencing platform out there, despite what you may believe after this pandemic. Google Meet is another great option, which comes with a 60-minute time limit for free plans, and offers some truly intuitive features for businesses.

Check out our Google Meet review for more information.

And that's not all. There are dozens of great video conferencing options on the market today with varying plan options, time limits, and features that might be a better fit for you, no matter what you're using it for. Take a look at this table to get a better idea of the video conferencing options available to you.

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User rating
Average rating given by iOS and Android users in App Store and Google Play Store reviews
Best for
Price from
The typical lowest starting price. The lowest price available for your business will depend on your needs.
Pros
Cons

GoToMeeting

Zoom

Google Meet

Lifesize

Webex

RingCentral Meetings

Join.me

4.5
4.2
3.8
3.5
4.2
3.8
3.9

Best overall video conferencing app

Ease of use

Google Workplace users

Third party interoperability

Larger businesses

Huge feature catalogue

External Conferences

$14.99/month

$8/month

$12.95/month

$13.50/month

$14.99/month

$10/month

  • High quality audio and video
  • Very reliable and secure
  • Lower cost than competitors
  • Easy to use
  • Impressive free version available
  • Intuitive interface
  • Google Workplace compatibility
  • Very affordable paid plan
  • Advanced features like live captioning
  • 1080p video and HD audio,
  • Integrates with third-party apps
  • Good value
  • Feature-rich software
  • High quality audio and video
  • Easy setup

Lots of customizability

  • Very customizable platform
  • Quality audio
  • Respectable free version
  • Weak free plan
  • Poor audio quality
  • 250 meeting participant limit
  • No end-to-end-encryption
  • Unsophisticated chat function
  • Occasional bandwidth issues

Difficult to use at times

  • Expensive for full features
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Conor is the Senior Writer for Tech.co. For the last five years, he’s written about everything from Kickstarter campaigns and budding startups to tech titans and innovative technologies. His extensive background in stand-up comedy made him the perfect person to host tech-centric events like Startup Night at SXSW and the Timmy Awards for Tech in Motion. You can email Conor at conor@tech.co.

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