Google Meet is one of the two halves of Google Hangouts — a communication (messaging and video chat) platform, which Google is retiring in June 2020. Meet, along with the other half, Chat, will fill up Hangout’s void and continue to offer their respective services moving forward. While Chat is more of a collaboration platform (like Slack) and is limited to G Suite users only, Meet, on the other hand, is a platform for video conferencing.
Although it was also limited to G Suite users initially, in March earlier this year, Google announced that it is making the service available for free to all users. So, if you happen to have started with the service recently, here are some Google Meet tips and tricks you should know to improve your experience and get the most out of the service.
1. Change meeting layout
Google Meet offers four layout options for meetings: Auto, Tiled, Spotlight, and Sidebar. By default, the layout is set to auto-switch, which automatically displays active participants as they speak during a meeting. However, if you wish to change the default layout, you can do it fairly easily. For this, hit the three dots at the bottom right of the screen and choose ‘Change layout’. Now, tap on the format you want to view your participants in. And that’s it.
2. Manage participants
If you happen to be the meeting creator, there are a few exclusive options that you get to manage the participants, and in turn, the meeting, in a much better way. One such is the ability to pin, mute, or remove participants from a meeting, which, as their name suggests, allow you to pin a participant, mute a participant, or remove a participant, respectively. For instance, if there’s a problem with the audio at a participant’s end or you do not want a participant to interrupt in between, you can simply mute them. To do this, hit the participant icon on the top and tap on the person you want to mute. Once done, you will see three different options: Pin, Mute, and Remove. From here, select ‘Mute’. In the same way, you can also Pin a participant or remove a participant from a meeting.
3. Get live captions
Subtitles is a neat little feature found on most conferencing services, which makes it easier for participants to follow up on the conversations in a meeting. It can come in handy, especially for those who are not native English speakers, as the captions can make it easier to understand and respond to other participants. To enable captions while you are in a meeting, tap on the ‘Turn on captions’ button at the bottom.
4. Record a meeting
Once a meeting ends, there is literally not much you can do to revisit certain parts of the meeting. So, if you find yourself in a situation where you need to go back and catch up on something from a meeting or need to share the meeting clip with someone, there’s not much you can do at that moment. However, while you are in a meeting, and you realize that you might need the clip at a later time, you can simply record it in the first place. For this, tap on the three dots at the lower right of the screen and select ‘Record meeting’. Once done, the recorded meeting will be saved under a new folder in your Google Drive for future access.
5. Schedule a meeting
At times when you want to schedule a meeting, Google has you back with its Google Calendar integration. So, you can easily schedule a meeting and add members to notify them about the meeting via email. Moreover, to simplify the experience, the event link that you share also contains a joining link for the meeting. To schedule a meeting, all you need to do is go to the homepage of Google Meet and tap the ‘Schedule a video meeting from Google Calendar’ button. After this, you will be taken to a new tab where you can fill in the necessary details like title, date, time, etc, and also add the participants.
6. Share screen
Similar to some of the other video conferencing services such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and the likes, Google Meet also allows you to share the screen with peers while conferencing to make the meeting interactive and engaging. To share your screen while you are in a meeting, tap the ‘Present’ now button at the bottom right. Once done, you will now see two Present options: ‘Your entire screen’ and ‘A window’. With the former, your entire screen will be shared with other participants in the meeting, whereas, with the latter, you have the option to select the window you want to share. So, depending on your requirement, select the screen share type.
7. Change video settings
By default, Google Meet sets the send and receive video quality to Standard definition, which is 360p. However, if you happen to have good bandwidth with your connection, you can change the quality to High definition, ie 720, for better clarity. For this, while you are in a meeting, tap the three dots at the bottom right corner and select ‘Settings’. Next, in the pop-up, tap on the Video tab. Now, tap on the ‘Send resolution’ drop-down menu to unveil options and select 720p. Similarly, tap on the ‘Receive resolution’ drop-down menu to unveil different options and select 720p. Moreover, with Send resolution, you can also choose to send Audio only, which can come in handy if you do not wish to share your video.
8. Leverage Google Meet keyboard shortcuts
Although you can perform various actions by following a series of steps, the same can be achieved efficiently using certain key combinations. So, if you wish to avoid a few clicks, here are some Google Meet keyboard shortcuts for the same.
Toggle (turn ON/OFF) camera: command + e or ctrl + e
Toggle (mute/unmute) microphone: command + d ctrl + d
Show/hide people: control + command + p or ctrl + alt + p
Show/hide chat: control + command + c or ctrl + alt + c
Help: command + / or ctrl + /
To view a list of supported shortcuts on your machine, hit Shift + ?.
Those were some of the essential Google Meet tips and tricks to help you make the most of the video conferencing service. Using these, you can now use the service to its full potential and have more control over your meetings.