Google Meet updates aim to combat meeting fatigue

Google says the overhaul to the video conferencing service will make meetings more productive and inclusive

Google has unveiled a host of new functions for the web version of its video conferencing platform Google Meet.

The updates mainly focus on hosts with new options that aim to make presentations more engaging, but there are also AI-based video quality enhancements that aim to make participants feeds clearer.

These updates are a refresh for both the service and its users, with Google looking to reduce "meeting fatigue". Users can choose to have their video feed in a standard tile in the grid or as a floating picture, which can be moved and resized or even minimised completely. Google says it's also planning that will enable users to turn off the self-feed across all Google Meet calls.

New feature to minimise feeds on Google Meets

  "The new Meet enhancements are largely inspired by customer and user feedback," the tech giant said in a blog post. "Beginning next month, desktop and laptop users will see a new, richer user interface with an array of easy-to-access features that make meetings more productive and inclusive." Meet's new user interface, which will be available in May, will include easy-to-access features for more productive and inclusive meetings. Presenters will be able to pin and unpin content midway through a presentation and make the content tile the same size as participant tiles. While they will still see the full presentation, the presenter will have a better view of reactions. 

Controls are also getting a rejig, with an update to the bottom navigation bar. Dial-in codes, attachments, call lists, chat and other functions will all sit along the bottom for ease of access, with Google also aiming to increase screen space for more participants. 

Participants might also look a little better thanks to some automated light adjustments. This feature, due to arrive on Meet in the coming weeks, will detect users that appear underexposed and enhance the brightness for them. The same software will also zoom in if a participant needs it and position them squarely in front of the camera.

New forest background for Google Meets

As with seemingly all video conferencing platform updates, Google will be adding more fun backgrounds. There will be three: a classroom, a party and a forest, set to be released in the coming week. 

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