Google Meet has been one of the communication tools that has enjoyed massive growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Alongside the likes of Zoom and Skype, the platform has seen it's userbase increase substantially. We can also throw Microsoft Teams into that mix, although the collaboration tool is slightly different to those named.
Either way, Google has been working to ensure Meet surpasses its competitors in some avenues and catches them up in others. We can file the recent leap forward in noise cancellation as blazing a trail and this latest feature as catching up.
That new feature allows users to add images and include blur effects to backgrounds during video calls. As reported by 9to5Google, the feature allows users to pick their own background image or effect.
Google Meet is a little late to this party as Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams already allow this. Of course, it's better late than never. It's worth noting that while Microsoft has been toying with custom background for months, it was only this month the feature fully landed on Teams.
Elsewhere in the latest Google Meet update, the company added low-light mode, real-time captioning, hand-raising, and a tile view for 49 participants. However, this update is not yet available and Google has not said when it will officially arrive. That said, some education and enterprise users say they are already previewing the changes.
In April, Google made a direct push towards its main competitor Zoom by making Meet free to use.
Google Meet is baked into the company's G Suite service and is focused on education and enterprise users. During the pandemic, Meet's userbase has increased to over 100 million (a 30x growth).