Zoom has been one of the few beneficiaries of the ongoing pandemic, with the videoconferencing tool seeing a huge uptick in users in the last 12 months as families, friends, and workers connect increasingly online instead of in person.
Just as it did for Thanksgiving, the company will lift the 40-minute limit for free accounts during various holidays in the coming weeks, giving folks the chance to talk for as long as they like with loved ones near and far.
Of course, those with free accounts can always start a new meeting with the same participants if they hit the 40-minute limit, but such an interruption during a festive online gathering is likely to be an annoyance.
Using Zoom, you’ll be able to chat to your heart’s content during these periods:— 10 a.m. ET Thursday, December 17, to 6 a.m. ET Saturday, December 19— 10 a.m. ET Wednesday, December 23, to 6 a.m. ET Saturday, December 26— 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday, December. 30, to 6 a.m. ET on Saturday, January 2
You don’t need to change any settings on the software to make use of the offer as the limit will automatically disappear during the listed times.
For Zoom customers with paid plans, unlimited calls are already part of the package.
“COVID-19 has changed how we live, work, and celebrate in 2020, and like everything else this year, the holiday season doesn’t look the same,” the company said in a post announcing the move. “As a token of appreciation to our users during an extraordinary time, we’re removing the 40-minute limit on free Zoom accounts for all meetings globally for several upcoming special occasions.”
It added: “Whether coming together on the final day of Hanukkah, celebrating Christmas, ringing in the New Year, or marking the last days of Kwanzaa, those connecting with friends and family won’t get cut short.”
Google Meet is also offering unlimited video calls through March 2021 for users of its free tier. Of course, there are a bunch of platforms out there offering video calls — just be certain to plan ahead to ensure all of the intended participants have the same software installed so you don’t waste time on the day of the meet-up.