Google Meet adds new features to video call app as it takes on Zoom

Background blur, hand-raising, and Google Assistant will be coming to Meet

Google Meet is introducing new features to its video chatting service that will make it more competitive when compared to Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

The company will be letting people add custom images to serve as backgrounds, real-time captioning, a low-light mode, hand-raising (whereby users can indicate they have something to say without speaking) and a tile view of 49 participants will be coming to the consumer version of Meet.

Breakout rooms, polling, a Q&A channel will also be coming to Meet’s consumer version, according to 9to5Google which first reported the news. Google confirmed the report to The Verge.

While Google did not say when these features would be coming to Meet, it is currently previewing them in its education and enterprise suits.

Custom Google Meet backgrounds, however, will be rolling out to users in the “coming months". That feature was recently introduced to Microsoft Teams and already existed for Zoom users.

Controls through Google Assistant for Meet hardware kits will also exit beta testing and come to the main version of the app in the next few weeks.

The company is adding a virtual whiteboard to Meet too, via the interactive whiteboard Jamboard.

The move comes as Google is attempting to integrate Meet further into its mainstream products since the company made it free to use during the coronavirus pandemic.

It recently introduced a Meet tab into the Gmail app, with greater links to Google Calendar, on both iOS and Android.

More people are making use of video chatting apps during the lockdown. The number of UK users of video-conferencing platform Zoom increased from 659,000 in January to 13 million in April.

The number of UK adults making video calls has also doubled, with seven in 10 conducting weekly video calls. Three times as many older people are making more video calls.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in