How to Add a Festive Background in Google Meet

Greg DaSilva
PD Specialist
Blog on December 15 2021

The holidays are upon us once again, and just in time for the festivities, Google has added in a couple of new features that can make our Meets more engaging. Using virtual backgrounds in Google Meet has been an option for a little while now, but Google has recently added in some dynamic and immersive backgrounds that are a lot of fun. Let’s take a look at setting up virtual backgrounds and the new choices that are available.  We will also go over how you can customize your background even more!

The first step is, of course, joining a Google Meet.  This could be an instant meeting that we create at meet.google.com, a Meet scheduled in Google Calendar, or one associated with one of our Google Classroom classes.  Next, let’s click on the vertical ellipsis on the bottom toolbar in Meet and choose the option of “Apply visual effects.  

The 3-dot toolbar with "apply visual effects" button selected..

In the side toolbar, there are now a few options to choose from. The first is to choose to blur the background, either completely or slightly. Below that are the preloaded virtual backgrounds that we can choose from. The options at the bottom are static images, above those are some moving backgrounds, and those at the top are what Google calls “immersive backgrounds”.  These include a view of a condo, both during the day and at night, a sunny cafe, and the one that is most relevant for our current season – a snowy cafe!  There is also the option to choose a custom image which can be a school logo, classroom picture or other seasonal theme.

The multiple backgrounds that you can choose from in Google Meet.

The option of using virtual backgrounds can be motivation for students who may be shy and  may lead to better participation in virtual classes.  If you are going to introduce the use of virtual backgrounds with your students, it is a good idea to set some parameters beforehand and come up with a classroom management strategy that engenders positive use.

If you would like to learn more about Google Meet and other Google products, check out our Google Microcredential courses on OTIS for educators!


For more tips, tricks, and tools for teaching in and out of the classroom, check out more articles on the Teq Talk blog.

We also offer virtual professional development, training, and remote learning support for educators with OTIS for educators. Explore the technology, tools, and strategies that can spark student success — no matter where teaching or learning are happening.


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