With video conferencing skyrocketing due to COVID-19, Google has been heavily pushing Meet to G Suite users. After rolling out Gmail integration last week, Google Meet is now adding a tiled layout for larger calls, low-light mode, and noise cancellation.
Original 4/27: In response to increased demand, Google has “ramped up engineering support for Meet.” This ensures the service remains operational amid more users and calls, while allowing for “top-requested” features.
The biggest usability improvement is a tiled Google Meet layout that supports up to 16 participants simultaneously. This 4×4 grid is first rolling out to the web, and replaces the previous four-person limit.
Tap the “More” overflow menu in the bottom-right corner and select “Change layout.” Other options include Auto, Spotlight, and Sidebar. Support for more devices is coming along with updates for larger meetings and “better presentation layouts.”
Meanwhile, you can now “present a Chrome tab” directly instead of having to show your entire window/screen.
If you change your view to a new tab, a pop-up will ask if you want to switch to presenting the new tab or keep presenting the previous tab, making it easy to move between tabs and control what information you share with the meeting.
This feature is especially geared towards sharing “high-quality video with audio.” Entering general availability today, playing media previously resulted in a choppy experience that lacked any sound.
A low-light mode will see Meet leverage AI to “adjust your video to make you more visible to other participants in sub-optimal lighting conditions.” This capability is coming first to the mobile apps and later the web.
Update 4/27: On by default, the “adjust for very low light” option will begin rolling out today. It works throughout a call as conditions change with full availability over the next two weeks.
Video enhancements will begin five seconds after entering an area with low light. As your lighting conditions change, Meet will intelligently adapt, for example increasing enhancements as lighting conditions worsen and turning processing off when lighting conditions improve.
Similarly, Meet can now intelligently filter out background distractions. This includes dog barking or keystrokes, and should be welcome given everyone’s current work from home arrangements. This feature will be available in the “coming weeks” for G Suite Enterprise and G Suite Enterprise for Education customers online. Mobile users will follow after.
Update 6/30: As of today, the feature is now available on the web for most G Suite Enterprise and Enterprise for Education customers. It’s still rolling out for those in Australia, Brazil, India, Japan, and New Zealand, while it’s not yet available for “South Africa, the UAE, and surrounding locales.” Mobile support is coming soon.
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