Google is beginning roll out breakout rooms to more Google Meet users along with new features to improve the breakout rooms experience.
The company on Thursday announced that breakout rooms would be coming to users of Google Workspace, Essentials, Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus and G Suite Business and Enterprise for Education customers. Google originally launched breakout rooms last month, but only for G Suite Enterprise for Education users.
In addition to bringing breakout rooms to a wider set of users, Google also released new features to improve the user experience in breakout rooms.
Particularly useful for educators, a new ask for help feature allows meeting participants to ask the moderator for help. The moderator can see the request from the moderator panel and join the breakout room.
A new timer feature allows the moderator to set a timer for breakout sessions. A banner will appear in breakout rooms so participants can keep track of time.
Users will be alerted when there are 30 seconds left so they can wrap up the discussion, and they will also be prompted to return to the main call.
Google is also making breakout rooms available to dial-in phone participants, and anonymous users will also be able to be added to breakout rooms shortly.
The company last month announced breakout rooms for G Suite Enterprise for Education customers that allows organizers to create up to 100 breakout rooms in a single call.
According to Google, the feature randomly and equally distributes participants across rooms and allows moderators to manually move people into different rooms.
Google’s communication and collaboration feature blitz comes as competitors like Zoom and Microsoft Teams offer similar features for educators and other users that need to break video calls into groups.
Google recently rebranded its G Suite group of tools as Google Workspace, though most education users are still operating with G Suite-branded tools.
This comes shortly after Google announced a rebranding of its G Suite group of productivity apps as Google Workspace. Education users, for now, are still operating out of the G Suite brand.
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Recent upgrades to Workspace – formerly G Suite – include deeper integrations with Workspace tools and making it easier for business users to connect with customers and partners via guest features in Chat and Drive.
In Docs, Sheets and Slides, customers can now preview a linked file without having to open the tab to help users save time and avoid looking through their files to find something.
Another new feature is the ability to @mention someone in a document to call up their contact details and quick actions like reaching out via email, chat or video.
The company already said it was bringing Meet picture-in-Picture to Gmail and Chat so users can both see and hear their coworkers while they work in those apps, but Google is also bringing that same feature to Docs, Sheets and Slides.
Aside from the new features, Google’s rebrand includes new four-color icons for Workspace apps like Gmail, Drive, Calendar, Meet and more