Google Meet getting some new features and design changes

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Zoom is still the king when it comes to videoconferencing, coming out of relative obscurity when the pandemic hit last year and taking Skype’s lunch in the process. In recent months the likes of Microsoft Teams and Google Meet have been trying to encroach on Zoom’s popularity and now Google has announced some changes to its videoconferencing platform that could potentially help in that regard.

More specifically the user interface is getting a design overhaul, with Google noting that many of the changes are the result of feedback it has received from its customers.

“Starting next month, when viewing and sharing content with any group of people, you’ll have more space to see the content and others’ video feeds through our refreshed new look and improved ability to pin and unpin content. In the coming months, you will be able to pin multiple tiles to customize what you focus on,” explains Dave Citron, director of Product Management, Google Duo & Google Meet, in a blog post.

“For example, you can highlight a presentation and the speaker, or multiple speakers at the same time. Participants’ names will always be visible, so you can quickly see who’s who, and better engage with everyone on the call,” he adds.

Another significant change is the move of controls to the bottom of the window instead of the right hand side, which should also up a bit more screen real estate when you have a team video call with multiple people on it. Added to this will be the ability to use video as your background, along with static images, which are currently available.

“People have told us they concentrate better and often feel less tired when they don’t see themselves while talking. So we’re making it possible to resize, reposition or hide your own video feed,” adds Citron.

There is no fixed date for this new design and features to roll out to users next month, but Google has noted that it is expected in coming weeks, so keep an eye out for it.

Whether Zoom has anything to worry about just yet, remains to be seen.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.