In April, Google said it would allow unlimited meetings for all users on its Google Meet video chat platform until September 30th, and it looks like the company is sticking to that timetable. After the 30th of September, free versions of Meet will be limited to meetings of no more than 60 minutes.
“We do not have anything to communicate about improvements to the expiring promo and advanced features,” a Google spokesman said in an email Friday. “We will be sure to let you know if anything changes.”
Under the extension, anybody with a Google account will build free meetings with up to 100 participants and without a time limit.
Links to advanced functionality for G Suite and G Suite for Education customers is also going away on September 30th, including enabling meetings of up to 250 members, live streams of up to 100,000 people in a single domain, and the ability to store Google Drive meeting recordings. These features are typically only available to customers at G Suite’s “enterprise” stage, which costs $25 a month a consumer.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Google Meet and other video conferencing sites were chasing the meteoric rise of Zoom, with Meet passing 100 million participants daily back in April.
The Meet on Gmail shortcut was also promoted by Google. There is now a dedicated section for any Gmail user to easily schedule a meeting. This was done to cope during the pandemic with the rising popularity of Zoom and other video conferencing platforms. In order to adapt to the new standard, more and more individuals had to opt for the remote working format and Google attempted to float better on the market with the free feature extension.
Meet calls pass through Google’s servers, allowing automated captioning, troubleshooting issues and compliance with legal requirements to share data with users. But the calls from the consumers won’t be stored. Businesses and schools will have special access to meetings and other ways to document.
Since March the app has become increasingly popular, as shown by AppBrain data. At the beginning of March it passed five million downloads, then rapidly passed 10 million days later and has now been downloaded more than 50 million times. The service used to be exclusively free for GSuite users before the company revealed that it would make it open to everyone at no cost.