What you need to know
- Google Meet is getting a couple of new features.
- Starting today, you can join a Meet video call right from Gmail.
- Later in the month, the platform will roll out a 16-person grid layout for video calls that's quite similar to Zoom.
As more people work online, demand for enterprise communication and videoconferencing apps has skyrocketed. And though Zoom has come out as the incidental beneficiary of this uptick, concerns about security and privacy on the platform have left the door wide open for competitors to swoop in and take the limelight away.
As Reuters reports, Google is planning on doing just that with a flurry of new feature updates to Google Meet in the coming months, as millions of institutions turn to the platform to continue operating in the social distancing era.
To start off, it's rolling out Gmail integration for Meet (which just last week dropped the Hangouts in its name). This will allow users to join a Meet video call right from within Gmail.
In addition, the company is also working on improving the videoconferencing experience. Rolling out sometime this month, a new grid layout for large video calls will allow you to see up to16 different streams at the same time, likely inspired by Zoom's UI. Meet is also slated to get better at muting out background noises, as well as improved low-light video support.
Google's agility in this regard is certainly showing, as the company reports adding up to 2 million more users per day, even while it boasts "more than 100 million education users across 150 countries." G Suite Vice President Javier Soltero even pointed to an astounding 60% increase in active users of between two days on one occasion as an example of just how fast the business is growing.
A significant contributor to this rapid rate of growth in the company's user base is no doubt its ongoing offer making advanced Meet features previously only offered to paying enterprise users available to all G Suite customers, at no additional cost. The free upgrade is valid through September.