Google Meet, Google’s online videoconferencing platform, will limit the duration of your free meetings to up to one hour from next Wednesday (30). Until then, the limit was 24 hours per meeting. Users of G Suite, a suite of Google services that includes several benefits, will not face the new restriction.
The announcement comes as no surprise: in fact, the date was set months ago, when Google decided to release Meet to all users with few restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced the world to become socially isolated and increased demand for online meeting platforms. In that same announcement, the date of September 30 was already set to be the end of luxuries.
The limit of people per meeting will remain at 100 individuals, and the screen sharing feature will also remain, as well as the possibility of accessing the call via a browser or app. You can check the feature differences between free and paid packages at this link.
With the pandemic and the provision of services free of charge, Meet reached 100 million active users per day in April. It’s an impressive number, but still far from its main competitor when it comes to video calls: Zoom, which went from 10 million daily users in December 2019 to 300 million in April 2020.
Despite competing for the leadership with Meet, Zoom cannot be considered the best free alternative. Like Meet, it limits the duration of calls in its free version – to just 40 minutes. So if you are looking for an alternative to use after September 30th, here are some tips:
Hangouts is also from Google, and works like a previous version of Meet, launched in 2013. Unlike its successor, however, it has no time limit for calls in its free version. The problem is that there is another limit, the total number of participants: there are only 10 people per call in the traditional package. It is a good bet for long meetings, but more intimate.
For a long time the application dominated the area of videoconferencing, but in recent years it has lost space mainly to Google. Skype, however, has not disappeared, and remains a good alternative: the platform accepts up to 50 people in one call and has a limit of up to 4 hours per session and 10 hours a day. If the conversation goes beyond that, the video is automatically turned off, but the meeting can continue only in audio format. It is also possible to share screens, send files and write in the chat.
Initially designed as a voice platform for the gamer community, Discord began to attract companies and other groups to its servers in the pandemic precisely because it is free and has no limit on the number of people or time on its calls. The negative side is that its interface can be confusing and not very intuitive for those who are not used to it, since its original objective is gambling, and not formal meetings.
Facebook Messenger Rooms
Without falling behind during the pandemic, Facebook also launched a group video call service in May. In Messenger Rooms, it is possible to create video chat rooms through Messenger, the traditional Facebook messaging application, and up to 50 people can participate in the meeting, which has no time limit.
Microsoft’s unified video calling, messaging and file storage service was also an attractive haven for businesses and educational institutions during the pandemic. At Teams, you can make video calls with up to 20 people for 8 hours.
The most used messaging application in the world also has video calls, including in groups. The resource, however, is not as professional and complex as the others, so it works best for virtual meetings of friends or family and not so much for formal meetings.