New features are coming to Google Workplace aimed at boosting efficiency and flexibility, and Google Meet stands to benefit. Google plans to roll out a number of changes to Meet in the next few months that appear to be designed to handle hybrid meetings involving both remote attendees and people who are in the same room.
Google detailed its Google Meet improvements along with a number of other coming Workspace features in a post to the Workspace blog this week. For the video conferencing software, the biggest changes appear to the addition of in-meeting reactions plus picture-in-picture capabilities. You’ll also be able to start a meeting directly in Docs, Sheets and Slides.
Here’s a closer look at these new changes coming to Google Meet.
Google Meet in-meeting reactions
Presenting to far-flung attendees can sometimes feel like shouting into the void. Google Meet’s in-meeting reaction feature appears to be aimed at connecting speakers with meeting attendees by recreating some of that in-person feel.
Specifically. In-meeting reactions include animated emojis — hearts, thumb up, laughing faces and the like. When used, these animated reactions will appear in a user's video tile or alongside their name when their video tile isn't visible.
The idea, Google says, is that these reactions will give "immediate feedback to speakers and other attendees." A short clip included in the blog post shows an attendee use a "heart" emoji, which causes three hearts to float up from the bottom of her video tile.
Expect in-meeting reactions to appear in Google Meet during April.
Google Meet picture-in-picture
When you hold your video meetings via a Chrome browser, you’ll be able to take advantage of another capability Google is adding to Meet. Picture-in-pictures figures to bolster multitasking capabilities.
Using this option will trigger a floating window that includes up to four video tiles. The window then stays on top of other applications, and clicking the window will quickly take users back to the full meeting. Google pitches picture-in-picture as a feature that allows you to more easily share content.
Like in-meeting reactions, this new feature arrives in April.
Google Meet launching meetings from Google Docs, Sheets and Slides
It’s also going to be simpler to get started with Google Meet, as you soon be able to start a meeting from Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
With this update — which is arriving in the coming weeks, according to Google — users will be able to bring their meetings into documents, spreadsheets, and presentations for all attendees to view while being able to continue any ongoing conversations. That should mean extended collaboration opportunities, according to Google.
Other Google Meet additions
Google touched on a variety of other upgrades coming to Meet later this year, too, including the ability to stream meetings directly to YouTube. That’s coming later this year as is the ability to let livestream participants join in Q&As and polls, as if they were in a smaller Google Meet session. (Google Meet supports audiences of up to 500 attendees, while also letting live streams reach up to 100,000 people.)
Additional changes include automatic noise cancellation on all Google Meet hardware and client-side encryption for Google Meet.
Hybrid meetings don't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, so these new upgrades to Google's popular meeting app are shaping up to be helpful additions.