Google Meet gets backgrounds and blur
Google Meet, the video conferencing solution from the G Suite, has struggled to keep up with competitors like Zoom and Microsoft Teams in the past. Recently, Microsoft Teams introduced custom backgrounds to complement its existing blurred background solution.
Microsoft Teams unlocked custom backgrounds as a way of keeping up with Zoom, which already allowed users to include their own green screen-style sets into meeting environments. Now, Google Meet is catching up, introducing the same features to both its desktop and mobile app.
The background blur and background replacement features appeared in a document released by Google on upcoming technology. The features will allow users to either blur their backgrounds or replace them completely with an image of their choice.
The presence of a background blur or replacement option will be an exciting step forward for Google Meet users. However, it’s worth mentioning that there are a few caveats to keep in mind. The document that the features appeared on is a little fickle in nature. Every three months or so, new items appear on the list, and other ideas are removed.
This means that the ideas listed on this document aren’t an official commitment by Google to actually deliver new technology. There’s always a chance that Google could take a step back and decide not to introduce new background options at all.
If the new features do become available, then it’s likely that other capabilities will appear at the same time. Meet is now taking over from the Hangouts solution for Google collaboration, which means that Google is going to be upgrading the tool’s feature set. Also present in the development bucket for the app are increased meeting moderation controls. Users will also be able to dial out to international phone numbers, and access noise cancellation.
Google Meet will need to accelerate its feature list and fast if it wants to keep up with Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Promises of things like breakout rooms and digital whiteboards are a step in the right direction. The presence of background solutions like custom backgrounds and blurred backgrounds will be a valuable transformation too.
Google Meet is simple and straightforward, offering a growing list of features for millions of employees that have had to update their working patterns as a result of the new pandemic. The service was previously a premium solution. However, in May, Google released access for free with a tighter selection of Gmail integrations.