At the start of the pandemic, Google announced it would remove the limits on its Meet video conferencing (opens in new tab) service, allowing anyone with a Gmail (opens in new tab) account to host calls of effectively unlimited duration.
The idea was to help people keep in touch with family and friends during periods of lockdown, with face-to-face meetings no longer an option.
With Covid-19 making further lockdowns necessary across the globe, despite the vaccine rollout, the company has announced (opens in new tab) it will extend the availability of unlimited Meet (opens in new tab) calls until June 30.
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This marks the second time Google has extended the deadline. The initial agreement was that the 60-minute time limit would be reinstated on September 30 2020. This deadline was later extended to March 31 and now again, into the summer.
Google Meet extension
Although video conferencing fatigue is currently at an all-time high, more than a year since the transition to remote working (opens in new tab), the extension of unlimited Google Meet sessions will be a relief to many.
Google was by no means the only company to offer free access to services (opens in new tab) at the start of the pandemic, with players from the collaboration (opens in new tab), VPN (opens in new tab), antivirus (opens in new tab) and finance (opens in new tab) industries all pitching in to help.
However, many of these offers have now lapsed, leaving individuals and businesses still struggling with pandemic-related disruption in the lurch. By offering another extension, Google will hope it can relieve some of the burden.
The move is also likely designed to further bolster the reputation of Google Meet, which has largely played second fiddle to rival service Zoom (opens in new tab) during the pandemic, despite enjoying a bumper year for growth.
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