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Product Announcements

Making meetings more immersive, inclusive, and productive with Google Meet

April 21, 2021
Dave Citron

Sr. Director, Product Management, Google Workspace

We’re adding new features to Google Meet to make meetings more immersive, inclusive, and productive.

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Virtual meetings have been at the center of work’s global transformation this past year. Long before the pandemic, they played a crucial role for distributed teams, but now they’ve become the glue that holds the work day together for countless teams and organizations that used to share a physical workplace. With the hybrid model emerging as a core part of the future of work, the need for an immersive, secure, and people-first approach to meetings has never been greater. 

In a world of hybrid work, meetings aren’t just virtual or physical. They’re often a combination of the two as people connect from remote and in-person locations. So the concept of collaboration equity—the ability for everyone to contribute regardless of location, role, experience level, language, and device preference—is especially important.

Today we’re announcing new innovations in Google Meet that deepen the meeting experience, regardless of how and where people participate. Specifically, we’re introducing a refreshed user interface (UI), enhanced reliability features powered by the latest Google AI, and tools that make meetings more engaging—even fun—for everyone involved. 

A richer user interface for more productive and inclusive meetings 

Building on the innovations we’ve launched this past year to make meetings more meaningful, inclusive, and safer—from automated live captions in five languages, to engagement controls for educators and students, to new mobile capabilities that keep people connected wherever they are—the new Meet enhancements are largely inspired by customer and user feedback. Beginning next month, desktop and laptop users will see a new, richer user interface with an array of easy-to-access features that make meetings more productive and inclusive. 

The new Meet for web encompasses updates to video feeds, the viewing and presenting experience, and the bottom bar. In an effort to reduce meeting fatigue, we’re giving you more control over how you view yourself in meetings. You can choose to have your video feed be a tile in the grid or a floating picture, which can be resized and repositioned. If you prefer not to see yourself at all, you can easily minimize your feed and hide it from your own view entirely.  We’ll also be adding a setting to enable you to turn off your self-feed across all Google Meet calls.


Minimize your self-feed

To boost presenter confidence during meetings, we’ve also improved the pinning and unpinning of content. When unpinned, the presentation tile becomes the same size as other participant tiles, allowing you to see more people on the call and better gauge reactions.

Unpin to make the presentation tile smaller and view all participants

Similarly, in the coming months we’ll deliver options for customizing your view in Google Meet, including the ability to pin multiple video feeds. This will provide greater flexibility in how you combine people and content, adjusting for whatever you care about most in the moment.

Meanwhile, we’ve also updated the bottom bar to make meetings easier to navigate.  We’ve consolidated all controls in one place. Meeting dial-in codes, attachments, the participants’ list, chat, and other activities are now at the bottom right to create more vertical space for seeing people and content. The bottom bar is always visible so you’ll never have to miss out on captions or guess whether you’re on mute. We’ve also moved the leave call button away from the camera and microphone buttons to prevent accidental hang-ups.

Highlight different speakers and tiles for a better experience

High-quality and reliable meetings powered by the latest Google AI

Creating a high-quality meeting experience that works no matter where you are or the device you’re using is a priority for Google Meet. We’re continuously investing in new innovations that improve Meet’s audio and video experience, especially as people work across different locations. To support video calls when you’re on the go, we’re launching Data Saver this month. This feature limits data usage on mobile networks to allow you to save on data costs, which is especially important for markets like Brazil, Mexico, and Indonesia, where data costs can be high. 

Last year, we introduced low-light mode for Meet on mobile, using AI to automatically adjust your video to make you more visible if you’re in a dark environment. Having too much light behind you—such as a window on a sunny day—can also be challenging for many cameras. Google Meet on the web now automatically detects when a user appears underexposed and enhances the brightness to improve their visibility. Light adjustment on the web will be rolling out to Meet users everywhere in the coming weeks.

Automatically enhance brightness and improve visibility

In addition, we’re introducing another AI-powered feature to keep the focus on people during meetings. Autozoom helps other people see you more clearly by using AI to zoom in and position you squarely in front of your camera. If you move, Autozoom intelligently readjusts, so everyone in your team can stay focused on what matters. Autozoom will be available to Google Workspace (paid) subscribers in the coming months. 

Tools to make meetings more engaging

Last month, we started rolling out background replace, Q&A, and Polls for Meet to Android and iOS devices. In the coming weeks, we’re adding the ability to replace your background with a video. Video background replacement can help you maintain privacy for what’s behind you while also making your video calls more fun. There will initially be three options to choose from: a classroom, a party, and a forest, with more on the way soon.

Use a video background to maintain privacy and make calls more fun

As the hybrid blend of virtual and in-person meetings becomes a mainstay of worklife, we’ll continue to deliver innovations in Google Meet that help people have more immersive, inclusive, and productive interactions. As part of Google Workspace’s mission to fuel the future of work with a solution that’s flexible, helpful, and that drives innovation, Google Meet will keep people connected across all the places and ways that they work. 

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