Ars Technica: Google Meet puts the clamps on free users, imposes 1-hour meeting limit

Ars Technica: Google Meet puts the clamps on free users, imposes 1-hour meeting limit. “Google Meet was rushed out the door to meet the video-conferencing needs of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the service’s launch presented a deal for free users: a video call limit of 24 hours for group calls. Today, 9to5Google confirmed that Google’s pandemic promotion is over, and Google Meet now limits free users to 1-hour group video calls.”

Mashable: You can now be a cat in Google Meet calls

Mashable: You can now be a cat in Google Meet calls . “Google has integrated a bunch of new filters and masks into Meet, making it a bit more like Google Duo (which Meet is replacing anyways) and very much like the Snap Camera app on Zoom. These include new, animated backgrounds such as an undersea environment with bubbles and jellyfish swimming around (additions to the three launched in April), as well as changing your head into the head of a cat, elephant, dinosaur, and more.”

CNET: FaceTime is getting a bunch of upgrades, and I can’t wait to try them with my friends

CNET: FaceTime is getting a bunch of upgrades, and I can’t wait to try them with my friends. “Not wanting Zoom to take all the success, Apple announced some key updates to FaceTime during its WWDC event. Some of the features do indeed go some way to make FaceTime more like Zoom, while other features — like SharePlay — are all new and could offer great new ways of virtually hanging out with friends.”

Engadget: FaceTime is coming to PC and Android via a web app

Engadget: FaceTime is coming to PC and Android via a web app. “When iOS 15 arrives later this year, it will come with some significant upgrades to FaceTime. Apple’s Craig Federighi previewed those changes during WWDC 2021. One of the biggest tweaks is that Facetime will work with Android and Windows 10 PCs thanks to new shareable links Apple will let you send to your friends and family.”

Ubergizmo: Free Alternatives to Zoom That Are Privacy-Friendly

Ubergizmo: Free Alternatives to Zoom That Are Privacy-Friendly. “Zoom emerged as a popular video conferencing tool amidst the pandemic. It is still a decent choice to go with even with all the privacy and security concerns revolving around it. However, there are potentially better options to Zoom that are also free-to-use, and you might want to consider them for a better user experience and privacy. In this article, I’m going to mention the best free alternatives to Zoom.”

Purdue University: Turn off that camera during virtual meetings, environmental study says

Purdue University: Turn off that camera during virtual meetings, environmental study says. “Just one hour of videoconferencing or streaming, for example, emits 150-1,000 grams of carbon dioxide (a gallon of gasoline burned from a car emits about 8,887 grams), requires 2-12 liters of water and demands a land area adding up to about the size of an iPad Mini. But leaving your camera off during a web call can reduce these footprints by 96%. Streaming content in standard definition rather than in high definition while using apps such as Netflix or Hulu also could bring an 86% reduction, the researchers estimated.”

Mashable: How to host a virtual New Year’s Eve party

Mashable: How to host a virtual New Year’s Eve party. “Yeah, we know, we know. This year is unlike any other; unprecedented; blah blah blah. By now, we’ve more than resigned ourselves to the fact that New Year’s Eve won’t be rung in with a night in Times Square and a giant ball drop. (Did anyone ever really enjoy that anyway?) Like everything else, we’re moving our New Year’s Eve celebrations online. If that sounds impossible to you, we’ve got all the tips on how to pull it off below.”

Make Tech Easier: Zoom Reportedly Developing Email and Calendar Services

Make Tech Easier: Zoom Reportedly Developing Email and Calendar Services. “There’s no doubt Zoom achieved extreme popularity this year in the face of the global health pandemic. Workers and students were forced to turn to Zoom to communicate with bosses, teachers, and each other online and fell to various video-conferencing platforms, with Zoom being the undisputed king of them all. Zoom may be realizing that its run may be nearing an end once the pandemic has finally been extinguished as it is reportedly considering expanding to offer email, calendar, and messaging services.”

Mashable: How cosmetic glitter improved my self-confidence on Zoom calls

Mashable: How cosmetic glitter improved my self-confidence on Zoom calls. “I’ll be honest: It’s 2020 and I feel like shit. My clothes are tight. I never feel clean. The family couch and I have developed an identical, yet unidentifiable smell. Things are dire for me and my self-esteem right now — and unless those vaccines start moving a whole lot faster, things are going to stay dire for a while. So thank god for those iridescent discs I sometimes glue to my face, the tiny scraps of plastic that have been keeping me together in these difficult, socially distant times.”

Mashable: It’s time to suck it up and do Zoom happy hours again

Mashable: It’s time to suck it up and do Zoom happy hours again. “At first, Zoom happy hours were novel. And fun! Next, they were an underwhelming necessity. An ‘it’s better than nothing’ option. Eventually, they became … boring. And a little bit depressing. Most of us just stopped doing them. This also happened to be around the same time we learned masked and socially distanced outdoor get togethers were relatively safe. But now it’s time again, folks. Suck it up and do Zoom happy hours again.”

CNN: Everyone you know uses Zoom. That wasn’t the plan

CNN: Everyone you know uses Zoom. That wasn’t the plan. “The tweet was when Eric Yuan knew something had to change. Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, shared a photo from his first ever virtual cabinet meeting. The cybersecurity red flags jumped out immediately. Some cabinet secretaries’ Zoom screen names were visible, you could see which platform the cabinet was running its computers on, and most glaringly, the meeting ID was visible for all to see. The significance of the moment was not lost on the team at Zoom.”