The “Communication App Wars” are upon us. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, communication tools have become increasingly popular and companies are now in a feature battle to offer the best tools and services. The main players are Microsoft (Teams and Skype), Zoom, Facebook (Messenger and WhatsApp), Slack, and Google Meet, which recently became free.

It is the latter of those, Google Meet, that has taken its turn to entice users with a handy tool. Specifically, the platform is receiving noise cancellation technology that is available from today. Early reports about the feature is it’s excellent and works better than noise cancellation offered by rivals.

Sure, it’s a convenient timing to launch such a stellar tool during the COVID-19 crisis and Communication App Wars. However, Google has been working on noise cancellation for Google Meet for three years.

“It started off as a project from our conference rooms,” Serge Lachapelle, G Suite director of product management told Venturebeat. “I’m based out of Stockholm. When we meet with the U.S., it’s usually around this time [morning in the U.S., evening in Europe]. You’ll hear a lot of cling, cling, cling and weird little noises of people eating their breakfast or eating their dinners or taking late meetings at home and kids screaming and all. It was really that that triggered off this project about a year and a half ago.”

Development

The idea originated when Google acquired Limes Audio in 2017. Lachapelle says the company suddenly had a selection of audio experts working for it. It seemed like a good idea to put them to good use.

Through the years of development, the Google Meet team created AI models, perfected data, and worked on reducing lag. The results are apparently game-changing and will help users keep out background noise during meetings.

Noise cancellation is coming to Meet now. Google says it is turned on by default by users can choose to deactivate it.

Microsoft has recently announced Microsoft Teams is also getting a noise cancellation tool. It will be interesting to see if it is as good as Google’s technology.