Sure, there are plenty of options when it comes to videoconferencing software, but Google is clearly keen for you to take a look at its own offering.
While Zoom has been getting all the headlines (good and bad) since the coronavirus prompted a sudden increase in remote working, Google has been busy knocking into shape its own Meet platform, this week announcing a bunch of new features that help make it a serious choice worthy of workers’ consideration.
The most notable update is the ability to use a tiled layout for up to 16 participants, a big improvement on the previous version, which only allowed a maximum of four. This is still nowhere near Zoom’s 49 thumbnails but should be enough for most online meetings.
There’s also a new A.I.-powered low-light mode that automatically adjusts your video to make you more visible to others in the meeting if your lighting setup is a little on the dim side. This feature is currently rolling out to mobile users, with work underway to bring it to the web, too.
From this week, Google Meet also lets you present a Chrome tab alone (instead of presenting a window or your entire screen), something Google says will be useful for when you need to share high-quality video with audio content during a meeting. There’s a support page showing you how to use the feature.
Finally, noise cancellation helps reduce interruptions to your meeting by intelligently filtering out background distractions such as a barking dog, or keystrokes as you take notes. Noise cancellation will land in the coming weeks to G Suite Enterprise and G Suite Enterprise for Education customers, beginning with web users. It’ll arrive for mobile a little later.
“More updates are coming for larger meetings, better presentation layouts, and support across more devices,” Google said in a blog post announcing the new features.
The update comes just a couple of weeks after news emerged that Google had instructed its employees to stop using the Zoom app on their work computers over security concerns, though it added that using the software through a web browser or via mobile is fine.
Zoom has been in the firing line over security and privacy issues, but the company insists it is making improvements in both areas. In fact, the company is rolling out a comprehensive update this week.
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