We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.
Google Meet is at last catching up with Zoom and Microsoft Teams by adding a much demanded – and quirky – feature. Earlier this year when lockdown measures kicked into place Zoom suffered a huge increase in user numbers, as it surged past long-running rival services such as Skype into pole position in the video conferencing arena. Since then rivals like Google Meet and Microsoft Teams have been playing catch-up, emulating some of the features that made Zoom such a go-to choice for web calls.
And one of the most loved features about Zoom has now made its way to Google Meet.
In a blog post the Mountain View firm has revealed that customisable backgrounds will at last be making their way onto Google Meet.
This feature was first made popular by Zoom, leading to plenty of viral social media posts when coronavirus lockdown measures began towards the beginning of 2020.
Microsoft later added this functionality to Microsoft Teams in June, and now Google is adding this quirky feature to Google Meet.
In a post online Google said: “You can now replace your background with an image in Google Meet.
“You can either use Google’s hand-picked images, which include office spaces, landscapes, and abstract backgrounds, or upload your own image.”
Explaining why this is such a great addition to Meet’s suite of features, Google said: “Custom backgrounds can help you show more of your personality, as well as help hide your surroundings.”
Google announced customisable backgrounds were coming to Meet in a blog post published towards the end of October, but it may take a week or so before it’s rolled out to users.
Google also said that at launch there will be no admin controls for this feature, with admin controls to select which ‘organisational units’ can use custom and preset backgrounds for meetings they organise getting introduced later this year.
To start with also, customisable backgrounds won’t be available to Google Meet apps users – with this coming to mobile later on.
The search engine giant said: “We recently launched the ability to filter out disruptive background noise and blur your background in Google Meet.
“Virtual backgrounds work directly within your browser and do not require an extension or any additional software.
“At launch, they’ll work on ChromeOS and on the Chrome browser on Windows and Mac desktop devices.
“Support on Meet mobile apps will be coming soon; we’ll announce on the Google Workspace Updates blog when they become available.”
Google Meet – which formerly was Google Hangouts – has been getting tonnes of new features this year as Google positions it as a rival to Zoom’s throne.
And it looks like all of the great new features Google Meet has been getting has not gone unnoticed by those that have found web conferencing services to be a crucial part of their professional and personal life at the moment.
As reported by The Verge, Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently said Google Meet was registering 235million daily meetings and more than 7.5billion daily video calls.
Microsoft, meanwhile, at the end of October said Microsoft Teams had reached 115million daily active users.
See today’s front and back pages, download the newspaper,
order back issues and use the historic Daily Express
Google, Microsoft Teams, Videotelephony
World news – GB – Google Meet catches up with Zoom and Microsoft Teams by adding much demanded feature