Google announced last month that it was merging its two video call apps, Google Meet and Google Duo, and the transition officially started a few days ago. However, the switch does have at least one downside.
Google states in a support article that direct calls with contacts or a group of people is free with no time limits, just like before with Duo, but the rules around generating links to join meetings have changed. If you set up a meeting that can be joined with a link, and you only have a free Google account (instead of Google One Premium), the meeting will have a time limit of 60 minutes.
Time Limits in Duo and (old) Meet
Google Duo has never had a maximum limit on the length of calls, for both audio-only and video calls. The main limit was just on the number of people you could have on a single call — Duo maxed out at eight participants before the COVID-19 pandemic, which was raised to 12 in March 2020, and raised again to 32 people a few months later. Duo didn’t even have group video calls on the web until May 2020.
Google Meet, in contrast, was built from the start for large companies and organizations to have online video meetings. Google Workspace accounts (the ones set up by organizations) can have 500 participants on the same call, though the limit for most Google accounts is 100. There’s no time limit with Meet calls for paid Workspace accounts, which was also true when Meet was rolled out to free Google accounts in the early days of the pandemic, but that ended in 2021.
Zoom forces free calls to end after 40 minutes, and free Microsoft Teams meetings are limited to 60 minutes in groups or 30 hours in 1-to-1 calls. However, there are still some services that offer free calls with no time limit, such as Microsoft Skype and Apple FaceTime.
Update: This article previously stated that “starting a Meet call from a phone or tablet won’t have a maximum time limit, but calls started from the Meet desktop web app will be limited to 60 minutes for free Google accounts.” The actual distinction is direct calls vs. meetings — calling a specific contact or a group of people is still free with no time limits, but generating a link for anyone to join at any time is limited to 60 minutes.