Google Meet gets in-meeting reactions, PiP mode and more

As Covid-19 cases around the world dip, a number of companies are shifting to a hybrid working environment. Amid the changing circumstances, Google has released a massive update to its video conferencing platform, Google Meet, that is aimed at making it easier for office goers to collaborate and manage their day to day.

In-meeting reactions

As a part of this update, Google is rolling out in-meeting reactions to Google Meet. In-meeting reactions will enable Google Meet users to use select emojis including thumbs up, heart, laugh out loud, thumbs down, surprise, and clapping as a way to respond to or give their feedback to other participants. The screenshot of the feature shared by the company shows that users will also be able to change these emojis using the Settings menu that will appear right next to these emojis when they click the Clock icon that appears right next to the Screen Sharing button in the meeting controls at the bottom of an ongoing meeting.

Google says that these reactions will appear in a participant’s video tile, or overflow alongside their name if their video tile isn’t visible and they will be available for use soon.

PiP mode

Another feature that Google is bringing to Google Meet is support for picture-in-picture mode. In a blog post Google said that it is bringing picture-in-picture to Meet running on Chrome browsers to help presenters and multitaskers see their audience while navigating different tabs and windows.

Starting April, Google Meet users will be able to see up to four video tiles of meeting attendees in a floating window on top of other applications as they share content or send a message in Gmail. Clicking on picture-in-picture will quickly take them back to the full Meet session.

Meet in Docs, Sheets, and Slides

Google is also bringing Meet directly to Docs, Sheets, and Slides in the coming weeks. With this feature, Google Meet users will be able to quickly start a meeting and bring it to a document, spreadsheet, or presentation. They will also be able to present this content to all the meeting attendees.

Improved companion mode

Google has also announced that it is improving companion mode, which gives in-room meeting attendees a way to stay engaged using their personal devices while leveraging in-room audio and video. The company said that in the coming months, people in conference rooms will also be able to add their own personal video tiles from Companion mode and their laptop camera, which in turn will make it easier for other attendees to see their expressions and gestures.

And some more…

Google also said that later this year, livestream attendees will be able to participate in Q&A and polls. Additionally, the company will enable meeting hosts to stream meetings directly to YouTube from the Meet activities tab. This feature will be available in Meet later this year.

Lastly, Google will roll out an update in May this year that will bring optional client-side encryption in Google Meet. “This feature gives our customers direct control of the encryption keys and identity provider used to access those keys,” the company wrote.