Will we all be working at home forever? If you’ve asked yourself that, you’re not alone; the editors at LinkedIn recently put forth this question. Although the recent charge to remote work was abrupt, and both organizations and employees had to overcome some initial stumbling blocks, now that everyone has settled in, remote work isn’t going anywhere. A recent survey by business publishing company getAbstract found that nearly 43% of full-time American workers want to continue working remotely at least some of the time long term, and nearly 20% reported that they and their employers were in active discussions about it.
Collaboration tools are key to effective remote work, especially secure, reliable video conferencing. Over the past few weeks, Google’s enterprise video conferencing platform, Google Meet, has been averaging two million new users each day. Organizations are quickly discovering the many advantages Meet has over competitor Zoom, including security by default and proactive defenses to prevent meetings from being hijacked, a solid commitment to user privacy, reliable encryption in transit, and a superior user experience, with no desktop software to install and the same functionality on every device.
Now, Google has made Meet even better with the rollout of four new features that its customers had been clamoring for:
1. Expanded Tiled Layout for Larger Conferences
The ability to see other meeting participants approximates the in-person meeting experience and helps remote teams build a sense of community. Previously, Meet’s tiled layouts feature permitted users to view only four participants at a time. That was fine for small meetings, but what about large conferences? Now, Meet users can see up to 16 participants at once, with support for even larger meetings, better presentation layouts, and support across additional devices coming soon.
2. Limit Screen Sharing to a Single Chrome Tab
Have you ever presented your screen in a video conference only to realize you inadvertently left a browser tab open that contained something irrelevant, embarrassing, or simply private? Meet users now have the option to share a single Chrome tab in lieu of their window or entire screen. In addition to protecting your privacy, this new feature also provides the best experience when sharing high-quality video content with audio.
3. Low-Light Mode
Subpar lighting conditions in your home office can be unflattering and distracting. Meet’s new low-light mode leverages artificial intelligence to automatically adjust video to accommodate poor lighting and bring all meeting participants out of the shadows. Low-light mode is currently rolling out to mobile users, and everyone will be able to access it soon.
4. Noise Cancellation
Boisterous kids and barking dogs are normal household sounds, but they’re the bane of at-home workers trying to have a serious video conference. Even the tapping of a keyboard while taking notes can be an annoyance to other meeting participants. To combat these audio interruptions, Meet now uses AI to intelligently filter out kids, dogs, keystrokes, and other unwanted background noise. Noise cancellation will begin rolling out in the coming weeks to customers who use G Suite Enterprise and G Suite Enterprise for Education on the web, with mobile support coming shortly thereafter. Tip: Using a headset or headphones can also help cut down on background noise ensuring even more audio quality.