Skip to main content

Google Meet’s 360-degree virtual backgrounds move with you during video chats

For those with messy bedrooms or who simply want to retain an element of privacy during video chats, various videoconferencing tools have long offered ways to replace the real background with a virtual one.

Now, Google Meet has taken this one step further and launched 360-degree video backgrounds that use your Android or iOS device’s gyroscope to make a virtual background move with you instead of having it as a static image.

Related Videos

Current options put you in a temple or on a beach — in other words, locations that are likely to be dramatically different from your home office or living room, or whichever place you usually conduct your video chats from.

Google announced the new feature on its website, and included an example showing a man speaking from a sun-kissed lagoon.

Truth be told, the eye-catching scenery and abundance of movement may prove rather distracting for others in the call, but perhaps that distraction will fade after a short time. Also, we’re assuming that the person with the background won’t really be moving around quite as much as the person in Google’s demonstration clip, which should limit any distraction.

It’s worth noting that an administrator has the ultimate say as to whether those in a call can replace their real backgrounds with virtual ones or use special effects.

Google Meet’s 360-degree video backgrounds are available now on Android and iOS devices for all Google Workspace users, and also for those with personal Google accounts.

In other recent updates to Google Meet, the web giant made improvements to reduce the visual glitches that can sometimes appear between the outer edges of a call participant and their virtual background.

And last month Google also introduced emoji reactions to let call participants react to each others’ contributions.

With so many people switching to remote working during the early stages of the pandemic in 2020, it was rival application Zoom that became the go-to tool for those wishing to make video calls for work. The sudden change in work styles, and the massive success of Zoom, prompted Google and others to revamp their own videoconferencing tools to make them more useful in work and personal settings.

Editors' Recommendations

Zoom to lift its 40-minute meeting limit for holiday celebrations
young couple enjoying a video chat

Zoom has been one of the few beneficiaries of the ongoing pandemic, with the videoconferencing tool seeing a huge uptick in users in the last 12 months as families, friends, and workers connect increasingly online instead of in person.

Just as it did for Thanksgiving, the company will lift the 40-minute limit for free accounts during various holidays in the coming weeks, giving folks the chance to talk for as long as they like with loved ones near and far.

Read more
Google Duo now lets you share your Android screen in video calls
google duo adds four new features for better video calls

Google’s latest update for its internet calling app, Duo, lets you share your phone’s screen in video calls. The feature is only available for Android users for now, and restricted to one-on-one chats. Incidentally, back in 2018, Google had rolled out a similar functionality for Duo but it was mysteriously removed after three months.

Read more
Google will reportedly move away from Duo, integrate features to Meet
google replace duo meet 9 users

Google is reportedly planning to eventually replace Duo with Meet, in a new direction under the leadership of G Suite head Javier Soltero.

Soltero, who told employees that it does not make sense for the two apps to coexist, has decided to retain Meet as Google's only video calling service, 9to5Google reported. Sources said that this came as a surprise to the team behind Duo, which was announced at I/O 2016 alongside the since shuttered chat app Allo.

Read more