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Google meet updates

Six major updates are coming to Google Meet that will change the way you work

by Atharva Gulhane

To compete with Zoom and Skype, Google Meet is bringing out the big guns.

Google Meet
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

When the pandemic hit, video calling software like Zoom, Skype, and (briefly) Houseparty became much more important, and people flocked to them in droves. Google Meet was an alternative, and it did go free for all in April 2020 to help people stay connected while in lockdown, but it was a stripped-down offering with a feature set that some users found limited.

Recognizing that remote work is here to stay, Google has announced a series of Meet updates that will make it a more appealing long-term proposition. Google unveiled a slew of updates to Meet, billed as a way to help “hybrid models become the sustainable norm,” that should make it more feature-rich, especially for those with Enterprise accounts.

The first feature will be in-meeting emoji reactions, which will be available next month. In a nutshell, it’s a way of responding to what’s being said in real-time without having to unmute and potentially disrupt a meeting’s flow — something that’s all too easy to do in the slightly disconnected medium of video calls. Google has gone to great lengths to ensure that they feel like a human connection while also not being too distracting — a separate blog post details the research that went into the feature.

The first feature will be in-meeting emoji reactions, which will be available next month. In a nutshell, it’s a way of responding to what’s being said in real-time without having to unmute and potentially disrupt a meeting’s flow — something that’s all too easy to do in the slightly disconnected medium of video calls. Google has gone to great lengths to ensure that they feel like a human connection while also not being too distracting — a separate blog post details the research that went into the feature.

google meet

If you need to multitask outside of Google’s productivity apps, you’ll be able to do so with picture-in-picture mode starting next month. This is only available in Chrome, but it allows you to pop out up to four video tiles into a floating window, freeing up your main browser window to do other things.

Google Meet will expand its live-streaming capabilities later this year, allowing users to stream directly to YouTube. Attendees will be able to participate in Q&A sessions and polls as if they were in a regular Meet session, with the existing live-streaming feature set being enhanced as well.

google meet

Then there’s a security update for more sensitive chats: Google will roll out optional client-side encryption in May, followed by an end-to-end alternative later in the year. “These enhancements, taken together, strengthen the security foundation that enables secure, hybrid collaboration at scale,” the company says.

Finally, users of the best webcams and hardware certified to work with Google Meet will benefit from noise cancellation, which will block out distracting sounds such as keyboard clicking and unwanted noise from the neighbors. This appears to be in the process of being rolled out, so you may have already benefited.

It’s a welcome set of enhancements that should help to cleanly bridge the gap between office-based and remote workers. “You can build a sustainable hybrid work model that gives employees the ability to deliver their best from anywhere with a unified approach to communications and collaboration,” Google concludes.

To read From Google itself go here

They also added a feature of reacting using emojis, which can be seen here

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