22 Apr 2021: Google Meet receives feature updates, user interface improvements
Observing video calling platform Zoom's pandemic-fuelled popularity, Google opened up its enterprise-only video conferencing tool called Google Meet to all Gmail users.
In a recent blog post, the company detailed a visual redesign and functional improvements for Google Meet including features such as Data Saver, Autozoom, and a low-light mode.
Most of these features will be available in the coming few weeks, Google said.
Refreshed UI: Meet is Google's video conferencing solution for enterprises
Google Meet was made available to all Gmail users in April last year. The video conferencing tool seamlessly integrates with other products in Google's ecosystem such as Google Calendar and Google Docs.
The latest update to Google Meet brings a refreshing new user interface (UI), so video feeds from the call's participants take up most of the empty space.
Listening to feedback: Multiple participants can be pinned instead of just one
Google said that participants' names will always be visible on their video feed, so users can "better engage with everyone on the call".
Additionally, users will be able to pin multiple participants or content tiles, as opposed to being able to pin just one previously.
Google said that based on user feedback, it has added the ability to resize, reposition, or hide one's video.
Low-light mode: Data Saver feature will optimize calls for low-bandwidth connections
Among functional improvements, Google Meet will get a new Data Saver option that limits data usage. The feature would be particularly helpful for regions with low bandwidth or expensive internet plans.
This feature was introduced for the mobile app earlier.
Google also incorporated an artificial intelligence-powered (AI) low-light mode that artificially compensates for poor ambient lighting conditions, making the user's face brighter and clearer.
Details: AI-powered Autozoom will automatically keep participants centered in the frame
Another AI-powered feature called Autozoom seems to use facial recognition and object tracking to automatically position a user's face in the center of their video feed.
We believe the feature digitally zooms in on the person's face if they move away from the center of the frame.
The company said that Autozoom will be available only to Workspace subscribers initially.
Fun elements: Meet finally gets animated video backgrounds like Zoom, Microsoft Teams
Lastly, Google Meet now features three new animated video backdrops—a forest, a classroom, and a party (pictured). The search giant said that more video backgrounds will be added in the near future.
Until now, Meet only allowed static background images or AI-powered background blur effects.
The new Google Meet features (besides Autozoom) will begin rolling out in the coming weeks.