What you need to know
- Google Workspace is being updated with improved functionality for those working in a hybrid model.
- Changes include in-meeting reactions, automatic noise cancellation with Meet hardware, and more.
- Later this year, Google is bringing Q&A and poll participation for livestream attendees.
As more and more people start heading back to the office, there are still plenty of companies that have adopted the "hybrid" working model. Because of this, Google has been working to improve its Workspace functionality. But there are still a few features that Workspace tools, like Google Meet, have still been missing.
In the latest post on the Google Cloud blog, Google revealed plans to bring in-meeting reactions for attendees. Once it's available, meeting attendees will be able to pick from several different reactions, which will appear on the left side of the screen during the meeting.
Google is also attempting to make collaboration easier than ever, as Meet will be integrated directly into the likes of Docs, Sheets, and Slides. This allows you to start a Meet call, and immediately take the call into a document so that the collaboration can begin. It aims to make collaboration even easier, as you can actually discuss the contents of the page, as opposed to leaving comments or notes separately.
One of the biggest frustrations when it comes to Meet is when you are trying to use different tabs or windows while you're in a call. On Android phones, this is easily remedied as there's a picture-in-picture functionality already built-in. But Google is finally bringing this to the desktop, as PiP can be enabled and will show a floating window with a four-by-four layout showing different meeting participants.
The features detailed above are all expected to arrive for Workspace users over the course of the "next month." However, there are even more features that Google shared which are scheduled to arrive "later this year."
Last year, Meet was updated with support for 500 active attendees and "the ability to livestream to audiences of up to 100,000." Google is making a rather big change, allowing those who are livestreaming the event to provide answers in Q&A and polls. With this change, Google is providing the same experience to everyone, regardless of whether you are an active attendee or part of the "livestream" audience.
Keeping with the changes to live streams, Meet will also gain the ability to have these streams hosted directly on YouTube as opposed to just relying on the Meet app. Organizers will see a new option available under the live stream settings, with a new "Stream with YouTube" section and a "Start" button.
Finally, Google Meet is getting client-side encryption sometime in May. Google confirms that this will be an optional feature, but provides Workspace users with better control over the encryption keys. And by the end of this year, this encryption will be made available for all meetings.
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Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.