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Google Meet Video Calls Can Now Have 49 People, Custom Backgrounds and Calls From Nest

Google has fired its latest salvo at Zoom by throwing on a bunch of new features for Google Meet. These new features in Google Meet include 49 participants in one video call for free/non-enterprise users, customisable backgrounds, 100-people video calls for Google Nest users and a number of additions from rivals, including ‘raise hand’, polling and better moderator controls. On this note, here’s looking at the highlight of everything that’s coming new to Google Meet.

More participants

The addition of more participants in a free Google Meet call can go a long way in letting Google take on Zoom with greater might. Now, Google will allow up to 49 participants at once in a video call through Meet. This is significant, as right now, Meet only allows up to 16 participants in one call. Because of this, Meet was so far rather behind Zoom in terms of free video conferencing ability. This would have a lesser impact on enterprise users, since Google already lets G Suite and G Suite for Education customers to host meetings via Meet with up to 250 participants, and live stream to up to 100,000 people within a single domain organisation.

Custom backgrounds

Already available on Zoom, Google will let users add custom images in the background, while making a call via Meet. Similarly, users will be able to blur their background as well. Apart from these, Google is also introducing a ‘raise hand’ feature for Meet users when they want to join a live presentation feed. There will also be a new attendee system to allow hosts to keep a check on who’s attending a meeting. Google is also working on ‘Breakout Rooms’, where meetings can be split into small groups for parallel discussions, and reconvene once finished. Other interesting features in Meet will include Polling, Q&A and additional controls for managing participants.

Support For Nest displays

Google has also said that it will soon integrate Google Meet with its smart display speaker, the Nest Hub Max. This particular integration means you can now join video conferences through the speaker. Just say “Hey Google, start a meeting”, or “Hey Google, make a group call”, and you can be connected to Google Meet straightway. The feature is currently available to G Suite users as an early access programme.


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