Zoom won’t cut your Christmas video call short, the company has announced. While anyone can use Zoom for free to video call friends and family, accounts without an active subscription to the service are capped at 40 minutes. After that, your video call will be abruptly stopped and you’ll need to either stump up for a monthly Direct Debit, or call someone back for another 40 minutes (before the same thing happens again).
However, Zoom is ditching the time-limit to help people that are unable to travel due to local restrictions or just avoiding travel to keep friends and family safe to keep in touch with their loved ones. The videoconferencing app confirmed plans to lift the 40 minute limit on specific days, including Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year, earlier this month.
The dates are as follows:
- Christmas Eve & Christmas Day | 3pm GMT on Wednesday December 23 – to 11am Saturday December 26 2020
- New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Last Day of Kwanzaa | 3pm GMT on Wednesday December 30 – to 11am on Saturday January 2 2021
Confirming the news in a company blog, Zoom states: “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. 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. 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.”
You don’t need to do anything to remove the 40 minute call limit on your free account, instead it will automatically be lifted during these designated times.
On top of that, Zoom has announced a number of festive-themed background to download and use on our next call. Zoom can use AI to work out the difference between your body and the background behind you. Using this data, Zoom allows callers to blur their background (to stop nosey colleagues snooping on the titles on their bookcase) or substitute the background for something completely different.