Companies might be big on return to work but remote collaboration remains important as people still work from home or different parts of the world. Video calling apps remain essential tools in the remote work space with each competing to get the best features on their own app and add more users. Google Meet is now taking on the competition by introducing one feature that is exactly like one of Zoom’s most useful shortcuts.
Google Meet will soon let you unmute yourself by holding down on the space bar and releasing it to mute again. In an update on the Google blog, the company mentions that people will be able to quickly participate in meetings this way and will even help in situations where users forget to mute themselves again after speaking. The feature is similar to how a walkie-talkie works and will save users an additional click to mute and unmute themselves manually on the app.
The unmute feature is not only found on Zoom (called “push-to-talk”), but also on Cisco Webex. Microsoft Teams has a similar function but with the Ctrl + Spacebar key.
Google says it will start rolling out the update to all Workspace users on September 9 but it could take up to 15 days for the feature to show up for everyone. The feature will not be turned on automatically and will have to be enabled from Google Meet’s settings.
Notably, Google has been introducing many new features for Meet. At Google I/O 2022 back in May, the tech giant announced significant upgrades to Meet, including automatic lighting, portrait adjustment for faces, de-reverberation and noise cancellation. Another Google Meet upgrade is integration with Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.
More recently, the company has introduced the ability to toggle between mute and unmute with third-party hardware like headsets, mics and other USB peripheral devices. Ending or starting a Google Meet meeting might also get integration with hardware in the future.
This week Google also said they are updating how “Hey Google” voice control works for Google Meet hardware. The update mentions, “the Google assistant will only be active when a device is not in a meeting and within 10 minutes of an upcoming meeting” to avoid accidental activation of Assistant during calls.
However, the tech giant has taken a confusing approach to merge its Duo app with Meet on phones. As a result, currently, there are two Meet apps — one that combines Duo and Meet and the Google Meet original app.
When I checked Apple's App Store, I found one app called Google Meet with a green icon and one called Google Duo with Google Meet’s web icon, leaving me completely perplexed. We will have to see what route Google takes to sort out its video app confusion in the future.