- Google announced four new features released for Google Meet on Tuesday.
- Google Meet now supports up to 16 people in side-by-side view, where it previously only supported 4.
- Google is also adding low-light mode, noise cancellation and the ability to share a Chrome tab.
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Zoom’s video conferencing software has been making headlines for weeks. Two months ago, most people had never heard of Zoom, and now it is being used as a verb in casual conversations. One of the reasons that Zoom has had such a huge impact is that most other video chat applications cannot match Zoom’s availability and range of features. For millions of users, the benefits of using Zoom outweigh possible privacy concerns endemic to the platform (some of which have been addressed). But Google is not falling without a fight.
On Wednesday, Google announced which is launching four of the top requested features for the Google Meet video chat app, including an expanded mosaic view that allows up to 16 participants to be on screen at the same time. The previous limit was 4 and was one of many reasons why Zoom, which requires a paid subscription for full access, managed to outperform the competition, despite the fact that the Google app is completely free to download and use.
Perhaps the main feature of Zoom is the ability to have hundreds of participants on camera at the same time, making it ideal for meetings with co-workers and customers, as well as for meetings with several friends. The four-person Google Meet limit was a major drawback, but this is an important step in the right direction. Google says that even bigger meetings will be supported in future updates, in addition to better presentation layouts.
In addition to expanding the layout side by side, Google also added the option of presenting an individual Chrome tab instead of a window or the entire screen. Google says this is the best way to share high-quality video with remote viewers. Meet now also has a low light mode that adjusts your video to make it more visible:
The fourth and last feature added to Meet is noise cancellation. Google says that Meet can intelligently filter out any background noise, such as dog barking or keystrokes or screams from the other room. This feature will begin rolling out to G Suite Enterprise and G Suite Enterprise for Education customers in the coming weeks.
These improvements may not be enough for Google Meet to completely usurp Zoom, but if you’re looking for an app to use instead of Zoom for any reason, you won’t lose much in functionality if you decide to sync with your friends or colleagues at Meet instead of Zoom.