Google Meet finally zooms in and lets you add video backgrounds

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Google Meet finally zooms in and lets you add video backgrounds
New season, new Meet.
New season, new Meet.

Image: google

By Shannon Connellan

Continuing a trend we’ve seen throughout the home-bound pandemic, Google Meet is about to add another Zoom-like feature to its video calls.

In a blog post, the company announced it will be adding the ability to replace your background with a video. While you won’t be able to use your own videos as backgrounds, Google will offer three options to begin with: a classroom, party, and forest, promising further additions down the track.

Google has allowed Meet users to add custom backgrounds to their video calls since October 2020, but this is the first time they’ve included video in this option (even though you’re unable to upload your own). 

The video background feature will arrive “in the coming weeks.”

There's a lot going on with the

There’s a lot going on with the “party” option.

Image: google

It’s yet another feature that’s making the platform look ever more like competitor Zoom. Video backgrounds have been available as virtual backgrounds through Zoom for the last year, so you might have already brought chaos to your meetings — like this guy did

Whichever platform you’re using, changing your background is super easy, and something you should really be doing for your own privacy. 

Meanwhile, Google is rolling out some other features for Meet, including the ability to pin yourself as a tile, hide yourself entirely, or pin multiple video feeds at once to customise what you’re looking at during a meeting. There’s also a light adjustment feature that that will automatically detect if you’re appearing underexposed and enhance the brightness — it’s an update to its already-launched low-light detection mode. 

The company’s also adding a feature called Data Saver, which it says limits data usage on mobile during Meet calls, and an AI-powered feature called Autozoom, which zooms in and positions you squarely in front of your camera (this one’s only available for paid Google Workspace subscribers).

We’ll probably be working from home for a while yet, so any sprucing up of video calls is at least something. Anything. 

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