Google has gone back on a move to strip users of free video conferencing calls using its Google Meet service.
The online giant had said that it would be ending its gift of unlimited free Google Meet calls, instead limiting users to calls of just 60 minutes.
However Google has now said it will extend free, unlimited Meet calls into next year for users who have a Gmail account.
Google Meet free calls
The company had given all users free meetings with no time limit earlier this year as the demand for video conferencing grew in the pandemic.
Google also granted access to premium Hangouts Meet features, including the ability to have meetings with up to 250 participants, broadcast livestreams of up to 100,000 people within a single domain, as well as the ability to save meeting recordings to Google Drive.
These functions will continue to be available for users on free Gmail subscriptions, although there is a 24-hour technical limitation which may mean some users can’t access all the features straight away.
The new offer will last until March 31 2021, with Google saying that the upcoming holiday season helped influence its decision, allowing users across the world to stay in touch with colleagues and loved ones.
“As we look ahead to a holiday season with less travel and important milestones like family reunions, PTA meetings and weddings hosted over video, we want to continue helping those who rely on Meet to stay in touch over the coming months,” the company noted in a blog post.
“We hope these updates will help you do more at home, at work and everywhere you choose.”