As it did for Thanksgiving, Zoom is lifting its 40-minute meeting limits for free accounts over the holidays so that you can talk to (insert whoever you want to talk to during the holidays here) uninterrupted. In a blog post the company announced the dates/times that this change will be active. Note that the first set of Hanukkah-related dates is now irrelevant (oops) but that the next two pairs will come in recognition of Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, and Kwanzaa. Those dates/times are as follows:

  • 10AM ET Thursday, December 17th, to 6AM ET Saturday, December 19th, for the end of Hanukkah
  • 10AM ET Wednesday, December 23rd, to 6AM ET Saturday, December 26th, for Christmas Eve and Christmas
  • 10AM ET on Wednesday, December 30th, to 6AM ET on Saturday, January 2nd, for New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and the end of Kwanzaa

Plan your lives or excuses accordingly. 

Though this may be written for a small demographic of people currently unfamiliar with Zoom who plan to use it for holiday-related reasons over the two weeks, normal Zoom meetings composed of three or more people in the videoconferencing app's free tier can't go on for more than 40 minutes (you also might have just figured that out on your own due to the wording in the headline/first paragraph). Those wishing to talk for 41/42 minutes, or even longer, then had to put together another meeting and get everyone to join again. Those familiar may have found this to be a pain in the ass.

Now you see the reason why the company has lifted this for holidays. 

"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 wrote to users in the blog we just referenced. "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."

The limit will be automatically removed during those times above.

Similarly, The Verge reports that those looking to talk to family and friends through Google Meet can do so with free user host calls that can go on for up to 24 hours. That will be available through March 2021.