Google Meet is launching a series of new features that aim to make the platform more competitive to Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other videoconferencing and collaboration solutions.
The new features come as videoconferencing platforms enjoy a surge in use due to the rise of remote work amid the coronavirus pandemic. The company says the platform’s use has grown as much as 30 times since January.
Google Meet, popular within education and now free for every G Suite user, now has capabilities that Zoom and Teams have already had.
The company announced those new upcoming releases in a blog post. Here are some we wanted to single out:
- New background features like blur and virtual background will be coming to the platform in the coming months. Many other videoconferencing tools have these features.
- Google said it will soon be rolling out the ability to let users see up to 49 meeting participants at once. Currently, that is capped at 16 participants along with content being shared.
- Participants will soon be able to virtually raise their hand if they have a question or want to be acknowledged to speak.
- Breakout rooms will allow large meetings to be split into smaller groups to have parallel discussions. They can be merged back together once finished.
- A Q&A feature will allow the audience to ask questions without disrupting the flow of the conversation
- A polling feature will give meeting admins the ability to engage participants in real-time polling
- More moderator controls for muting, presenting joining and more will be added to boost productivity and security.
Google also said it will be launching Hey Google voice control for Google Meet hardware, including the recently launched ASUS starter kit along with Logitech meeting room kits.
Last month, Google introduced a new intelligent noise cancelling feature designed to be similar to speech recognition. It’s able to separate what is speech from other sounds via a cloud-based machine learning model.