Google Meet gets video backgrounds
Google has announced a number of new features for Google Meet, including an option to automatically brighten faces in video conferencing.
Some of the new features are designed to make you look better. The automatic light adjustment that is already activated in the Google Meet mobile app is now included in the web app. That is, if your face appears underexposed, possibly because you are sitting in front of a bright window, the software will automatically increase the brightness of your face so that others can see you more clearly.
Google is also rolling out an AutoZoom feature that lets you zoom in and move it to the center of the frame if you’re not already there. Since most webcams do not have an optical zoom, this will be a software feature – and it will only be available to paying subscribers “in the coming months”.
For those who hate their own wallpaper or don’t want curious colleagues to look at their house in the background, Google is expanding its library of fake wallpapers with the option to add a video background. There are three options to start with – a classroom, a party, and a forest – and Google promises more are on the way.
Google is also optimizing the way you can view coworkers. Multi-pinning is now an option that allows you to expand the feed of more than one participant on the screen and leave the rest as thumbnails. In hybrid work environments that are likely to become more mundane, this could make it easier to see a group at a meeting table as well as the current speaker.
Google also hopes to give presentation partners a confidence boost by allowing them to reduce the size of the presenter’s tile to just a thumbnail. This, according to Google, will increase presenter confidence by allowing you to see more people on the call and better gauge the reactions. Audience reactions may not be what you want to see at the ninth video meeting of the day.
When you get tired of the sight of your own face, you can even hide your mug entirely from your own screen.
All new features should be rolled out today unless I stated otherwise above.