Previously a business-only service, Google Meet opened up for everyone last year as a very contagious virus started making the rounds, and people needed a tool to replace face-to-face meetings in an efficient way. While Zoom remains arguably the most popular option, Google Meet quickly became a very solid alternative with an enormous feature set and market share. Now, Google Meet is getting a redesign as well as options to make your calls more accessible and engaging.
The new design from Google Meet, as announced in an official blog post, includes a more spacious design that is more focused on video feeds, taking up as much empty space as possible with tiles for each person’s feed, which are also more fitting with Google’s current design language (the mobile version of the app also got a redesign not too long ago) instead of the current grid-like view. Conversely, if you don’t want to see your own face in a call, the new, modern-looking UI also allows you to minimize or hide your own video feed, and there are also changes on how video feeds are pinned and unpinned: for example, you can highlight both a presentation and the speaker, or multiple speakers at the same time.
Other features being added include a Data Saver feature which can optimize video calls in slower internet connections by limiting data usage, which is pretty useful in countries with slower internet or expensive data plans. Low-light mode, which was also introduced to the Google Meet app on mobile, is also making its way to the web version as well. This feature can automatically detect if there’s too much or too little light and/or exposure on an user’s face and enhance the video feed so it looks way clearer. Autozoom is also meant to improve visibility by automatically positioning you squarely in front of your camera.
Finally, but not least important, video backgrounds are making their way to Google Meet, which can change your video feed’s backdrop to whatever you like. We previously had image backgrounds for your calls, which allowed you to either select from a list of backgrounds or upload your own image. Now, animated backgrounds are available, and Google allows you to select from an initial list of 3: a classroom, a party, and a forest.
These features should begin rolling out in the next few weeks, although Autozoom will, at least, be available to Enterprise users at first.