Google is rolling out a new feature for its video meeting platform Google Meet that allows users to add custom background during a video conference. The feature is currently limited to Meet's web client, and the app for Android and iOS is slated to receive the update soon. With the background changing option, users can choose images from Google's own library that includes office spaces, landscapes, and abstract backgrounds. User can also upload their custom images during live video calls.
Google announced the development in a blog post published October 31. The company adds that the background-changing option is off by default and Google Meet users will need to turn it on manually. To change the background before the Meet video call, users will first have to select a meeting and then select 'Change Background' at the bottom right of the screen. In case you want to change the background during the live call, click on the three vertical lines at the bottom right, and select change background. Users can also blur the background in case they don't want to use an image. The intensity of the blurry background on Google Meet can also be adjusted.
Google says that the custom background feature works directly within the browser and does not require an extension or any additional software. The search giant added that custom background option would work on ChromeOS and the Chrome browser on Windows and Mac desktop devices. The update aims to filter out visual distractions, especially at a time when users are heavily using Meet for work amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The feature is available to Google Meet's regular users as well as Google Workspace (earlier G Suite) and Enterprise customers. The completion of the rollout is expected by November 6. Unfortunately, G Suite for Education customers cannot select their own picture during a video call, Google added.
Earlier in September, Google had added the cancellation feature on Google Meet to filter out background noises. However, it is currently limited to G Suite Enterprise for Education customers, and it is unclear whether regular users would get it as well.