Google Meet adds richer UI and AI-driven featuresSyah Ismail
Online meetings have been at the heart 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 workday together for countless teams and organisations 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.
To meet the demands of today’s working conditions, Google Meet has added a few new features that deepen the meeting experience, regardless of how and where people participate. Specifically, Google Meet is getting a refreshed user interface (UI), enhanced reliability features powered by the latest Google AI and tools that make meetings more engaging and fun for everyone involved.
A richer user interface for more productive and inclusive meetings
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, Google Meet is 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 that can be resized and repositioned. If you prefer not to see yourself at all, you can easily minimise your feed and hide it from your own view entirely. There will be a setting to enable you to turn off your self-feed across all Google Meet calls.
To boost presenter confidence during meetings, Meet will get improved pinning and unpinning of content experience. 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.
Similarly, in the coming months, you will get options for customising 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, the bottom bar is being updated to make meetings easier to navigate. All controls have been consolidated 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. The leave call button has also been moved away from the camera and microphone buttons to prevent accidental hang-ups.
High-quality and reliable meetings powered by the latest Google AI
To support video calls when you’re on the go, Google is 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 emerging markets where data costs can be high.
Last year, low-light mode was introduced for Meet on mobile, using AI to automatically adjust your video to make you more visible if you’re in a dark environment. 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.
In addition, another AI-powered feature will be introduced 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
In the coming weeks, Meet is 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.