To keep you and your students from getting caught off guard, see below for a short 5-minute video where I run through a live demo of the new layout, as well as written details about these changes.
For schools on the "Rapid Release" schedule, these new features will start rolling out on May 3, 2021 but may take up to 15 days to reach everyone. For schools on the "Scheduled Release" schedule the start date will be May 17, 2021, and again may take up to 15 days to roll out to all users.
Controls move to the bottom bar
One big change is that all of the controls for Google Meet will be in a bar at the bottom of the screen, rather than in multiple corners of the screen like they have been. This should give more room to see the meeting attendees. The toolbar will always be displayed as well, rather than hiding when not in use.
See below for a preview of the new layout:
Unpin presentation tile to see your students better
Another big change addresses one of the most common complaints about Google Meet. Currently when you are presenting your screen in Meet, you get a big black rectangle that reads "You're presenting to everyone".
Unfortunately this box takes up an entire side of your Meet screen, which reduces the number of students you can view. Additionally the box does not even show you a preview of what you are presenting, making it a pretty big waste of space.
With the updates for Google Meet, when you present your screen you will now get a presentation tile in Meet with several awesome features:
- The presentation tile will actually show you a live preview of what you are presenting. This can be so helpful to give you confirmation that you are actually presenting what you intend to.
- Better yet, you will be able to "unpin" the presentation tile. When you do this the presentation tile will shrink down to the size of the attendee tiles. This will allow you to see all of your students better, at least up to 49 tiles at a time.
Floating or grid options for self-view
In the new Meet layout you will also have more options for viewing yourself.
- You can click on your own video tile to switch between viewing yourself as part of the grid of attendees, or popping yourself out as a floating picture.
- As a floating picture you can drag the video of yourself to move all around the Meet screen.
- As a floating picture you can also drag the corners or your video to resize it.
- When either in the grid or when floating, you can click on the minimize button on your video to hide your feed from yourself so you have more room to see other people.
In the coming weeks and months, Google will be adding other new features to Meet including the following:
- The option to pin multiple video feeds in Meet for more flexibility on who you see, such as multiple presenters.
- A "Data Saver" feature on mobile networks to reduce data usage and help you save on data costs.
- A "Light Adjustment" feature to adjust the brightness is someone appears to be underexposed so they can be seen better.
- An "Autozoom" feature that will use AI to center you better in your video.
- Video backgrounds to replace your background, like the image option we currently have. Video background options will include a classroom, a party and a forest, with more video backgrounds to come.
Post by Eric Curts. Connect with me on Twitter at twitter.com/ericcurts