New Google Meet Features

Greg DaSilva
PD Specialist
News on October 08 2020

Google announced over the summer that there will be new features rolling out to the popular Google Meet app that teachers and students have been using during remote learning this year. Two of the new features are background blur, and added security enhancements in the shape of host controls. Let’s see how these could affect how you and your students conduct your virtual meetings.

Background blur

Google is now allowing Meet participants to blur their background while their camera is on during a meeting. This feature may be familiar to some teachers who have been using Zoom or Microsoft Teams during remote instruction and it is a welcome addition to Meet. A participant can choose this option from the screen when their camera is enabled and Google will blur whatever appears behind the participant. This feature adds a level of privacy where students can show less of their homes while participating in a virtual class.

Google announced that this feature will be released September 15, 2020 but may not appear in your account immediately, so keep an eye out for it.

Host controls

Google is also adding some new host controls for teachers to choose how students and colleagues join the meetings that they set up. Teachers can now control whether a participant needs to “knock” to get into the Meet, or if they may be added automatically. This feature will be accessible from the settings menu within a call.

According to Google, when Quick Access is turned on, participants in the same domain as the host do not need to knock to request to join the meeting. The same will apply for participants dialing in to the call. When Quick Access is turned off, however, “all users, including those in the same domain as the host, must knock to request to join the meeting unless they’re on the calendar invite. This includes any users who are dialing in to the meeting by phone. Any participants invited from within the meeting by anyone other than the host need to knock to request to join.”

With this Quick Access feature turned off, teachers will be able to keep out students who are joining the wrong class meeting. In other words, students and other invitees will also not be able to join the meeting until you, the host, joins. Since this new feature is controlled from the settings within Meet, it can be toggled on and off during a meeting as needed.

In addition to the new background blur and host control settings, Google will be rolling out other features to Google Meet this fall, so stay tuned!

For more tips, tricks, and tools for teaching in and out of the classroom, from Google Meet to Schoology and SMART Learning Suite, check out more articles on our blog.

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