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(Pocket-lint) - Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, free Google Meet users with personal Gmail accounts could use group calls without any duration limits. However, that perk expired at the beginning of July, and now, Google has quietly rolled out a new limitation.

Keep in mind Google Meet became available to all users in April 2020, and at the time, Google said it would remove the 60-minute time limit on calls until 30 September 2020. It later extended that deadline for group calls to 31 March 2021 and then again to 30 June 2021. Google did not renew the benefit in July. Instead, it's telling free Gmail users that group calls with "three or more participants” are limited to 60 minutes. At around 55 minutes, everyone in the call will get a notification about the call ending.

If you want to extend the call, the host will need to upgrade their Google account, such as the $9.99 per month Workspace Individual tier that just launched in five countries. It's also worth noting users with personal Google accounts are limited to a maximum of 100 participants in a video call. You can see the full list of benefits and limitations for Meet video calls here.

Remember, one-on-one calls can still last for up to 24 hours on free and enterprise accounts. For more about Google Meet, see our guide:

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Writing by Maggie Tillman. Originally published on 14 July 2021.