Today at The Anywhere School, we shared great new ways to use Google Classroom, Google Workspace for Education, Google Meet, and Chrome OS - all focused on helping teachers and school leaders continue to do the amazing work they do.
Classroom is adapting for the future of learning and teaching
Classroom strives to be the simplest, easiest to use learning platform, but we’re continuously making improvements to make it even better. Roster Import will enable admins to set up classes at scale (and save a significant amount of time!) while Classroom add-ons will give educators a simple way to integrate their favorite content and activities. And the new student activity dashboard, the ability to schedule assignments across multiple classes and improvements to the Meet and Classroom integration will make it far easier to engage with students. Learn more in the Classroom blog.
Google Workspace for Education improves collaboration and security
Smart canvas makes Docs, Sheets and Slides more interactive and intelligent. With features like smart chips, checklists, table templates and assisted analysis, smart canvas enables stronger collaboration with anyone, from anywhere. We’re also strengthening the security of all Google Workspace for Education editions with Drive security improvements and additional advanced security for Education Plus and Education Standard customers. Learn more in the Workspace blog.
Google Meet is getting more secure, easy to use and engaging
Google Meet is adding features to continue supporting the evolving needs of school communities. Moderators and admins will have new controls, like the ability to force breakout room participants back into the main meeting and end any meeting from the investigation tool. Meet will also be easier to use now that it supports multiple moderators and the ability to pin multiple presenters at the same time. Video calls will be more engaging and inclusive with public live streaming to YouTube, hand-raising improvements and live translated captions. Learn more in the Meet blog.
Chromebooks get more personalized
As schools transition from shared Chromebook carts to assigned devices, they are also getting much easier to use and manage. Signing in securely is now a breeze with PIN logins. Admins can now easily see when Automatic Update Expiration dates are reached across their fleet with Chrome Insights Reports. And with new built-in accessibility features like Point Scanning mode with Switch Access, and the new panning method for the full-screen magnifier, teachers and students alike can present and access information in a way that works for them. Learn more in the Chromebook blog.
We are constantly humbled by the amazing ways educators use our tools to better collaborate, manage classes, and create safe learning environments. Whether you’re about to wrap up your school year or still have a few months left, we hope that by sharing these updates now, we can help you be better prepared to use these tools in your institution. To get regular product updates, please sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Twitter.
Over the past year, video conferencing became essential for teaching, learning and staying connected. Whether you’re still teaching remotely, in a hybrid setting or have returned to in-person instruction, Meet provides an easy, reliable and secure way for your school community to connect. Today, we're announcing new features to Meet to continue supporting the evolving needs of school communities.
Secure by design
Meetings initiated from Google Classroom will soon be safer and more secure by design, with these updates coming in the next few months:
Every teacher and co-teacher in a Classroom class will be meeting hosts in Meet by default, so multiple teachers can share the load of managing a class.
Once a teacher is present, students who are on the Classroom roster will be automatically admitted to the meeting. Students will be placed into a “waiting room” and won't be able to see or communicate with other participants until a teacher is present.
Anyone who’s not on the Classroom roster will have to “ask to join” and only the teacher(s) can allow them into the meeting.
All meetings, including those started from Meet or Calendar, will get the following additional security updates in the coming months:
When a host ends breakout rooms, participants will get a warning and then will be forced back into the main meeting.
Hosts can match the breakout room safety settings with the safety settings from the main meeting.
To quickly prevent distractions, hosts will be able to turn off everyone’s video at once with “video lock.”
For hosts using tablets and mobile phones, we’re adding important meeting safety controls, like the ability to end meetings for everyone on the call and mute everyone at once.
To give admins more control, starting this month we’re adding settings to the Admin console so school leaders can set policies for who can join their school’s video calls and whether people from their school can join video calls from other schools. This helps admins create the right boundaries for different aged students, facilitate external speakers and more. Note that this update doesn't change your default experience — your experience will only change if your admin changes the current setting. Admins will also soon have a new setting to control whether Quick access is enabled by default, and another setting to control whether people can use the chat in meetings.
And in the coming weeks, admins with Education Standard and Education Plus can end any meeting in their organization directly from the investigation tool, and Quick access will be automatically turned off so nobody can rejoin the meeting without the host present.
Easier to use
To make it easier for you to connect with your students while presenting, we recently rolled out a refreshed Meet experience that allows you to see your presentation content and students at the same time. You can unpin your presentation or minimize your self feed to see more of your students on the call, and names are always visible so you can see who’s who. You can also use different layout options to customize what you want to focus on.
We also recently announced that meetings not initiated from Classroom will soon start supporting multiple hosts, making it easier for you to partner with other people helping manage a class. You’ll be able to choose co-hosts in meetings, and all meeting hosts will have access to safety controls. Multiple hosts will be rolling out in the coming months.
More engaging and inclusive for all types of learners
We recently launched an improved hand-raise icon and sound so students can participate with even more confidence, and teachers can more easily see and hear who raised their hands. People who raise their hands show up in the grid and there is a persistent notification so you can see how many people raised their hands and in what order. And once a student with a raised hand is done talking, their hand automatically lowers.
Meet now supports closed captions in five languages so people can more easily follow along and stay engaged. And in the coming months, you’ll be able to pin multiple tiles to customize what you want to focus on. For example, students can easily pin a sign language interpreter and the teacher so they can see both at the same time.
For educators with the Teaching and Learning Upgrade or Education Plus, we’re introducing features that take engagement and inclusivity to the next level. Later this year, Meet will offer live translated captions. With live translations enabled, you can listen to someone speaking one language and see real-time captions in another language. We expect this will be especially helpful in multilingual classrooms or when meeting with parents who speak a different language.
In the coming months, you’ll be able to use closed captions during livestreams. You’ll also soon be able to host public livestreams streamed right to YouTube so anyone outside of your institution can attend, ideal for school board meetings, school events and more. Public live streaming will be rolling out in beta later this year and will be widely available for customers with the Teaching and Learning Upgrade or Education Plus in early 2022.
Using Meet beyond distance learning
We’ve been inspired to see how educators are using Meet to improve the student learning experience, professional development and engage their whole school community. As the needs of school communities change, Meet will keep adapting to help people teach, learn and stay connected — whether they’re remote or in person.
Almost exactly one year ago, in an effort to help everyone stay connected safely as the pandemic was taking hold, we announced that we were making Google Meet free for everyone. Since then, Meet has helped millions of people connect around the world. While it’s been hard for all of us to remain apart this past year, I’ve been proud to work on a product that’s let so many of us come together.
Helping everyone safely connect and collaborate is what drives us to continue improving Meet — from introducing features that make video calls more inclusive, such as automated live captions in five languages, to controls that create a safer and more dynamic learning environment for educators and students, to new mobile capabilities that promote a more inclusive meeting experience. Today, we’re announcing even more ways that Meet will continue providing you with secure, reliable and engaging meetings, starting with a refreshed look on the web and helpful features built with the latest in artificial intelligence.
A new design that makes it easier to present and engage with others
Starting next month, when viewing and sharing content with any group of people, you’ll have more space to see the content and others’ video feeds through our refreshed new look and improved ability to pin and unpin content. In the coming months, you will be able to pin multiple tiles to customize what you focus on. For example, you can highlight a presentation and the speaker, or multiple speakers at the same time. Participants’ names will always be visible, so you can quickly see who’s who, and better engage with everyone on the call.
People have told us they concentrate better and often feel less tired when they don’t see themselves while talking. So we’re making it possible to resize, reposition or hide your own video feed. When doing so, you can use the freed-up space to see even more people on the call.
High-quality and reliable meetings on any device
We’re continuously investing in new ways to improve your audio and video experience in Meet. To support video calls when you’re on the go, we’re launching Data Saver this month. This feature limits data usage on mobile networks to allow you and the person you’re calling to save on data costs, which is especially important in countries where data costs can be high, like India, Indonesia and Brazil.
Last year, we introduced low-light mode for Meet on mobile, using artificial intelligence to automatically adjust your video to make you more visible if you’re in a dark environment. Having too much light behind you — such as a window on a sunny day — can also be challenging for many cameras. Now, Google Meet on the web automatically detects when a user appears underexposed and enhances the brightness to improve their visibility. Light adjustment will be rolling out to Meet users everywhere in the coming weeks.
In addition, we’re introducing another feature powered by AI called Autozoom, which helps others see you more clearly by zooming in and positioning you squarely in front of your camera. Autozoom will be available to Google Workspace (paid) subscribers in the coming months.
Fun new backgrounds on mobile and web
Last month, we started rolling out background replace, Q&A and Polls for Meet to Android and iOS devices. In the coming weeks, we’re adding the ability to replace your background with a video. Video background replacement can help you maintain privacy for what’s behind you while also making your video calls more fun. There will initially be three options to choose from: a classroom, a party and a forest, with more on the way soon.
When we introduced a free version of Google Meet to the world a year ago, none of us knew just how much we’d come to rely on virtual meetings and gatherings to keep us connected to friends, family, colleagues and classmates. We’re grateful for all the stories and feedback our users and customers have shared along the way, helping us make Google Meet more engaging for everyone. Looking ahead, we’re excited to continue improving the Meet experience to further help in all the ways people connect, collaborate and celebrate.
When the COVID-19 pandemic required students worldwide to transition to distance learning, many parents and guardians suddenly found themselves in the role of part-time teachers — and even IT technicians — on top of their existing responsibilities at work and home. If this describes your family’s situation these days, you’re definitely not alone. Many students and schools use Google Workspace for Education for teaching and learning – which includes tools for organizing classwork, like Google Classroom, and for video conferencing, like Google Meet. If you’re new to using Google Meet, we created the below guide to help make things easier while you juggle your many roles at home.
What is Google Meet?
Google Meet is Google’s secure and easy-to-use video conferencing solution that is available to schools for free through Google Workspace for Education. Educators use Meet to connect with your child one-on-one, to facilitate remote instruction and to hold virtual meetings and conferences with parents and guardians.
Meet works with all modern web browsers (like Chrome, Safari, etc.), meaning you don’t have to install or download software to your desktop computer in order to use it. For those looking to join from a mobile device like a tablet or smartphone, Meet has a dedicated mobile app that optimizes the video conferencing experience for mobile conditions. If you are using Meet on a Chromebook, we recently made significant performance improvements like audio and video optimizations and the ability to handle multitasking better.
How do I join a Google Meet?
There are a variety of ways to join a call or meeting, including joining from Google Classroom, or via a meeting link or invitation that your teacher has shared via email or Calendar.
How does Meet protect my child’s safety and privacy?
Google is committed to building products that help protect student and teacher privacy and security.
We designed Meet with industry-leading built-in protections that help keep calls safe by default. Here are a few examples:
Encryption by default:In Meet, all data is encrypted in transit by default between your device and Google.
Unique meeting IDs:Each Meeting ID is 10 characters long, with 25 characters in the set, so it’s difficult to make an unauthorized attempt to join the meeting by guessing the ID.
Protection against reusing finished meetings:Students can’t rejoin meetings once the final participant has left, unless they have meeting creation privileges to start a new meeting. This means if the instructor is the last person to leave a meeting, students can’t join again until an instructor restarts the meeting.
No plug-ins required:To limit the attack surface and eliminate the need to push out frequent security patches, Meet works entirely in your web browser, eliminating the need to download and update plug-ins.
Meet also gives educators powerful controls to help keep virtual classes safe and secure.
Safety locks: Educators can decide which methods of joining (via calendar invite or phone, for example) require users to obtain explicit approval to join.
Block anonymous users by default:Engaging safety locks will block all attempts to join a meeting from anonymous users (users not logged in through a Google Account), and enforce the requirement that the host joins first.
Host moderation controls:Educators can control the level of participant interactivity in the meeting. The chat lock and present lock will let hosts control which attendees can chat and present content within the meeting. Educators can also access these controls on mobile devices.
End a meeting for all participants:Prevents students from staying on after the teacher has left — including in breakout rooms.
How does Meet help keep my child engaged during class?
Over the past year, we’ve launched a number of features to help engage students by bringing some of in-classroom magic to the virtual classroom:
Hand raise, to help students indicate if they have a question or want to speak without disrupting the class.
Breakout rooms, used by educators to host small group discussions or working time. Teachers can easily jump between the different breakout rooms before bringing everyone back to the main discussion.
Q&A, allowing students to submit and upvote questions from the teacher for better group engagement.
Polls, used by educators to quickly gather feedback from their students, oftentimes using it to identify topics that need more discussion or to test comprehension of a certain topic.
Captions, allowing participants to follow along with live closed captions in Meet. Captions are now available in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.
Tile view in mobile, allowing you to see up to 48 people on a screen when using a mobile device or a tablet.
Customizable backgrounds, to let students and teachers express themselves creatively while in class, and background blur to help reduce background distractions and keep the focus on the participant.
Advanced safety locks, to block anonymous users from joining and let teachers control who can chat and present in a meeting. We will launch more controls in the upcoming weeks, like muting all, and ending meetings for everyone.
What’s new in Google Meet?
There are a number of new features we’ve launched in the last couple of months to enhance the learning experience:
More controls for educators:Educators can now mute everyone on the call at once so they can keep class on track. And coming soon, we’ll be launching new settings for school leaders to set policies for who can join their school’s video calls, and whether people from their school can join video calls from other schools.
Coming soon, we’ll have Emoji reactions, allowing students to more easily engage and express themselves in Meet.
Later this year, Meet will support multiple hosts, making it easier for educators to partner with others helping facilitate the class.
Later this year, meeting transcripts can help students who weren’t able to attend class stay up to date.
What additional Meet resources are available to me?
If you have questions or need help, check out our Tech Toolkit video, read our Guardian’s Guide to Google Meet or visit our Help Center page for troubleshooting information. For more tips and resources to help families navigate technology visit families.google. We hope we can continue helping improve the digital education experience and bring parents and guardians along, to support all families through these times.
Every day, more than a billion people come to Google to find answers or discover something new. Our Learning & Education team works to fuel that curiosity and help people build knowledge by connecting them to great learning experiences through our products — whether it's Search or YouTube, Google Classroom or Chromebooks.
During the pandemic, people turned to technology more than ever to help them learn and teach from anywhere, and this accelerated our desire to do even more with our technology to help. Just this past year, COVID-19 led school closures disrupted the continuity of education for over 320 million students across India. This past year, the education community has inspired us with their creativity and resilience -- this ability to learn, and teach, from anywhere is more important now than ever, and won’t end when the pandemic does. During these months, we have been honored to launch several initiatives to help educators and students to better make this transition, and are glad to recap a few key milestones.
After launching our Teach from Anywhere hub in April last year, we have since extended it to eight Indian languages (including English,) and it has helped more than 9 Lakh people to get started with remote teaching. Apart from these web-based training resources, we also believed it important to help impart hands-on training. So when CBSE, Kendriya Vidyalaya and the education ministries of Maharashtra and Delhi State Governments embarked on large-scale digital capacity building efforts, we worked with them to provide knowledge and access to Google for Education tools like Google Classroom, Google Meet and more. Till date, over 5 lakh teachers have attended these webinars that teach the use of digital tools for pedagogy and skills development.
But nothing has been more heartening than seeing teachers from rural areas reporting higher levels of satisfaction, peer recognition, and comfort with technology after these training sessions. One such example is Azmat, an English teacher from Shirdi Urdu High School in Maharashtra, among the many schools that had to shut down in-person teaching last year. Watch the inspiring story of how he and his students continued to keep the education momentum going, even in these challenging times.
The next era of our education products
Today, during our Learning with Google event, we shared our commitment to this community and provided a glimpse into some of the 50+ new, upcoming features across our education products that we hope will support even more learning. We want to enable every leader to bring innovation to their schools and universities, and give them the peace of mind that they’re investing in products that are secure and flexible to their needs.
We are glad to announce the next era of G Suite for Education — Google Workspace for Education – which offers educators and teachers even more choice and control. Google Workspace for Education includes all the products you already use, like Classroom, Meet, Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides and many more. Our free edition G Suite for Education will be renamed to Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals. If you’re currently using this edition, you won't see any changes besides a new name and new features.
More than 170 million students and educators worldwide rely on our suite of tools, and we are bringing many new helpful features to Google Classroom and Google Meet. Let’s take a look at some of these:
Offline mode: We’re making the Classroom Android app work offline, or with intermittent connections. Students will be able to start their work offline, review their assignments, open Drive attachments, and write assignments in Google Docs — all without an internet connection.
Improved mobile grading: We're improving how educators can grade in the Classroom Android app. We’ve seen more and more teachers around the world using mobile devices for giving feedback on the go, and these improvements will make it much easier for instructors to switch between student submissions, grade work while viewing an assignment, and share feedback.
Classroom add-ons: Having tools that work well together is so important. Coming later this year to teachers using Education Plus or Teaching and Learning Upgrade, Classroom add-ons let teachers integrate their favourite third-party EdTech tools and content directly into the Classroom interface, all without any extra log-ins.
Multiple moderators: Later this year, meetings will support multiple hosts, making it easier to partner with others helping facilitate the class. All hosts will have access to moderation controls, so they can share the load of managing who can join, controlling who can use the chat or present their screen, and more.
End meeting for all: Teachers will have the option to "End meeting for all", so they have complete control, and can prevent students from staying on a call after the teacher has left — including in breakout rooms.
Mute all: To make it easier to teach without interruption, educators will be able to easily mute all participants at once, and decide whether students can unmute themselves or not.
These and many other features will be rolling out in the coming months and over the course of this year. To get the full scoop on these announcements, check out Learning with Google, our global event that streamed in 15 languages, where you can hear a lot more directly from our team. For more details also see the new tools coming to Classroom and the new features coming to Meet.
Despite unforeseen obstacles, teaching and learning continued over the past year, all thanks to the heroic dedication of teachers like Azmat, of education leaders, as well as students and their families. We look forward to working together to reimagine learning and push the boundaries of what is possible, so that everyone has access to the quality learning experiences they deserve.
Posted by Bani Dhawan, Head of Education - South Asia
Over the past year, video conferencing became an essential tool for teaching, learning and staying connected. As part of our commitment to building products and programs to expand learning for everyone, we're bringing new features to Meet to help educators keep virtual classes secure and students engaged.
Helping teachers keep virtual classes safe
Our first priority with Google Meet is to make sure meetings are safe and secure. Last year we launched a number of tools to help with this, including security controls so only intended participants are let into meetings and advanced safety locks to block anonymous users and let teachers control who can chat and present within a meeting. In the coming months, we’ll be adding to that list.
Teachers will soon have the option to end meetings for everyone on the call, preventing students from staying on after the teacher has left — including in breakout rooms.
Getting everyone’s attention when class is deep in discussion can be tough, so we're also giving teachers an easy way to mute all participants at once. Rolling out over the next few weeks, “mute all” will help educators keep class on track. And since sometimes it's important to teach without interruption, launching in the coming months, meeting hosts will be able to control when students can unmute themselves.
For many teachers, Google Classroom is an essential tool for managing class. Later this year, Classroom and Meet will work together even better, so every meeting created from Classroom is even safer by default. When meetings are generated from Classroom, students won’t be able to join before the teacher. Meet will also know who’s on the Classroom roster, so only students and teachers in the class will be able to join. And every teacher in Classroom will be a meeting host by default, so if there are multiple teachers, they’ll be able to share the load of managing the class. And later this year, meetings that aren’t started from Classroom will also support multiple hosts, making it easier to partner with others helping facilitate the class.
Greater visibility and control for admins
In the coming months, we’ll be launching new settings in the Admin console so school leaders can set policies for who can join their school’s video calls, and whether people from their school can join video calls from other schools. This will make it easier to facilitate things like student-to-student connections across districts, professional development opportunities for educators and external speakers visiting a class.
The Google Meet audit log is also now available in the Admin console. In the coming months, we’ll be adding more information to these logs — like an external participant's email address — so admins can better understand how people are using Meet at their school. For educators with Education Standard or Education Plus licenses, we’re also making improvements to the investigation tool. Admins can now access Meet logs in the investigation tool, so they can identify, triage and take action on security and privacy issues. And later this year, admins will be able to end any meeting within their school from the investigation tool as well.
Engagement and inclusivity in Meet
Over the past six months, we've launched features like breakout rooms, hand raising, digital whiteboards and customized backgrounds. Later this year, students will be able to more easily engage and express themselves with emoji reactions in Meet. They’ll be able to pick emoji skin tones to best represent them, and react in class in a lightweight, non-disruptive way. Teachers and admins will have full control over when reactions can be used.
Because unreliable internet connections can make remote teaching and learning more challenging, we're also improving Meet to work better if you have low bandwidth. Rolling out in the coming months, this can help keep class on track when internet connections are weaker.
We’ve also made significant improvements to the performance of Meet on Chromebooks. These include audio, video and reliability optimizations, better performance while multitasking and more.
We’re also making additional improvements for educators with Teaching and Learning Upgrade or Education Plus licenses. Rolling out over the next few months, educators will be able to set up breakout rooms ahead of time in Google Calendar. This will make it easier for teachers to prepare for differentiated learning, be thoughtful about group dynamics and avoid losing valuable time setting up breakout rooms during class.
And to help students who weren’t able to attend class stay up to date, later this year educators will be able to receive meeting transcripts. They’ll be able to easily share transcripts with students, review what was discussed during class or maintain a record for future reference.
Whether by expanding professional development opportunities, livestreaming events or facilitating live-translated parent-teacher conferences, Meet can help your community stay connected. And while many recent improvements to Meet are focused on making distance learning possible, we're also dedicated to making it the best tool for school communities — now, and into the future.
Today, students everywhere are using computers more and more. Not only to complete schoolwork, but even to livestream their lessons. And they’re using the same networks as their parents, guardians and siblings, putting heavy demand on bandwidth.
No matter how today’s students are learning — at home, in a hybrid model or in school — they deserve a clear connection to educators and classmates. Making sure devices can handle video conferences all day while running various apps and software that require a lot of power is incredibly important. That’s why we’ve been focused on improving Chromebooks, so they can work harder in the background as teaching and learning proceed smoothly.
These Chrome OS updates will help students run video calls at home while they’re using apps like Google Classroom, Docs, Sheets, Slides and other tools, regardless of the device or the strength of their internet connections. Here’s how we’re making Chrome OS and Chromebooks even better behind the scenes.
Adapting to distance-learning challenges
In Chrome OS, we’ve improved how Meet videos are streamed. The improvements will make it easier for educators and students to choose a feature like grid view, where they can see images of other Meet attendees without affecting the performance of other apps. So if students are taking notes in a Google Doc while in a Meet, or running a Kahoot! game at the same time, they’ll be able to see everyone.
Better camera performance
We’ve also improved Chromebooks’ camera and video feed performance and efficiency by making sure that audio and video data don’t require any unnecessary processing. This means your device will have more processing power available for other tasks.
Meet now adjusts dynamically
We’re working on making Google Meet adapt more intelligently to your device, your network and what you’re working on. That means if students or teachers need to share their screens or take notes while in a Meet, the Meet’s video resolution or frame rate may be decreased slightly so that video performance doesn’t suffer. Meet will now also adapt to the speed of your network by temporarily turning off some video feeds, to make sure you’re not interrupted if many people are using your connection at the same time.
Features built with education in mind
Educators use Meet to run their virtual classrooms similarly to how they’d run class in person — they call on students to participate, send students into small groups and answer questions in real time. That’s why we’ve built features like hand-raising, digital whiteboards, polls, Q&A and breakout rooms, so educators can continue to use many of their in-person teaching methods in the virtual classroom.
Teaming up on Zoom improvements
Educators and learners who use Zoom should also see performance improvements during their videoconferences: Google and Zoom engineering teams have been working together on service enhancements for Chrome devices. Just like Meet, Zoom will adjust video performance based on devices in use and what participants are using their devices to do.
Without a doubt, 2020 was the year of video calling. And for us, that meant making sure every student, team, and family could jump on a call from any device and have a reliable, safe experience. Google Duo and Google Meet hosted over one trillion minutes of video calls globally. For perspective, that’s equal to more than 18 billion hour-long virtual workouts in a single year!
Here’s a recap of what we’ve done so far.
Productive and engaging meetings at home, work, and school
In 2020, Meet was put to the test. Our team had to really think through how virtual meetings could bring the key part of what in-person meetings provide: human connection. We launched new features like 49-tile layout, noise cancellation, background blur, and low-light mode plus live captions in five languages to help everyone follow along on the call.
Earlier this year, we made Meet free for everyone. We also announced that with your Gmail account, Meet calls are unlimited through March 31, 2021 so that families can enjoy their holiday traditions without interruptions. Speaking of Gmail, we added a Meet tab in Gmail, so that with one tap, people can jump from an email to a video call. We also brought Meet to Nest Hub Max and Chromecast to help people get up, move around, and have hands-free calls at home.
In large group settings like team all-hands or a classroom, it gets harder for people to speak up and to engage everyone on the call. With Meet, participants can use Q&A and hand raising tools, polls and breakout rooms. Organizations and moderators have more control too, keeping their meetings and participants safe, including advanced anti-abuse features, that allow for an enjoyable, safe experience for all. And in 2021, as many companies evaluate a flexible working model, we’ve designed Meet to work with our Series One hardware kits, created to deliver inclusive audio and video clarity that makes you feel like you're all together. So whether you're a Google Workspace subscriber relying on Meet's enterprise-grade functionality, or using Meet’s free version to safely connect with others near and far, Meet has you covered.
Fun experiences in your video calls
Being helpful means being there for the moments big and small. Though the pandemic kept me physically apart from many family members, I felt like they were with me and my family through virtual dinners, holidays like Thanksgiving, and even school band practices with Google Duo. At the end of the day, Google Duo makes it simple to go from texting each other to getting right on a video call. In a year of virtual get-togethers, Google Duo was there to help make video calls more fun: doodle on video calls, magically transform into an astronaut or a cat, and spread laughs and cheer this holiday season with our wide portfolio of AR effects that change based on your facial expressions and move with you around the screen. And with Moments, you can capture the fun (and the embarrassing moments!) to relive the memory afterwards.
With so many families having to work on the frontlines, our team was focused on ensuring calls could be connected with the highest quality even in low bandwidth connections. Google Duo is available on Android, iOS, tablets, computers, Android TV, smart speakers and smart displays.
Google Meet and Google Duo were built with an emphasis on privacy and security, to keep your calls and meetings safe and your information private.
We hope that our work so far continues to help people stay in touch during this holiday season, and we’re looking forward to connecting more families, friends, students, teachers and teams in 2021 and beyond.
This year has marked a dramatic shift in how many of us work, learn and stay in touch with one another. And as many of us learn to embrace remote tools and virtual communication for the first time, it’s incredibly important to have inclusive, accessible and fair virtual meetings, whether you’re planning a return to the office, going fully remote or using a hybrid model, with some people together in person and some remote.
For years, Google has focused on building products that help level the playing field. Google Meet, for example, uses speech-to-text technology to provide live captions in meetings; this helps participants who may be deaf or hard of hearing follow along and stay engaged. We introduced live captions in English last year, and starting today, we’re expanding live caption support to four additional languages: French, German, Portuguese (Brazil) and Spanish (Spain and Latin America).
More inclusive video calls
We know from our work with teachers and parents over the years how essential caption tools can be for students with learning disabilities, as well as English-language learners in both K-12 and higher education. Professional development experts often encourage the integration of this technology to make lessons more accessible, especially in the time of COVID-19. We’ve heard from Meet users about how helpful it can be to not only see who is speaking and view their expressions, but also read the text of what they are saying. By expanding live captions to more languages, we can help more students feel empowered to participate, and help more teachers share a space that is both accessible and inclusive. In addition, we’ve made captions settings “sticky,” so they’re even easier to use. This means that if you turn them on or off during a meeting, your preference will be saved, along with the chosen language, for future meetings.
Live captions in Spanish, French, German and Portuguese will begin rolling out to Meet web users across all editions starting today. Learn more about the rollout in our Google Workspace Updates blog.
Making large meetings easier for more people
Earlier this year, we introduced breakout rooms in Meet to help educators create dedicated spaces for more focused discussions and track student engagement with attendance reports. We’ve continued to improve these experiences and have also made them available to more Google Workspace editions so that organizations can use group discussion formats. Below are the latest updates to these large meeting features that help organizations increase participation and engagement during a call.
Breakout Rooms:A new countdown timer helps moderators keep everyone on task. Moderator requests call on the moderator to join a breakout room if participants need help or have a question, and dial-in participants and anonymous users can now participate in breakout rooms.
Attendance Reports:Viewership data is now available for live streamed events like virtual all-hands meetings, and new advanced settings provide admins and hosts with additional controls over attendance reports.
Hand raising:Participants can now let you know if they have a question or indicate that they would like to speak by raising their hand. In large meetings, this helps to increase participation while not disrupting the flow of the conversation and helps to prevent people from interrupting one another.
Staying connected over the holidays
As you turn to video to connect virtually with your loved ones this holiday season, Google Meet will continue to offer unlimited calls (up to 24 hours) in the free version through March 31, 2021 for Gmail accounts. This way, you can have enough time to keep up your holiday traditions virtually—and not get cut off before dessert.