Business may be important when returning to work, but remote collaboration remains important as people are still working from home or in different parts of the world. Video calling apps remain essential tools in the remote workspace, with each competing to get the best features on its own app and add more users. Google Meet is now taking on the competition by introducing a feature that looks exactly like one of Zoom’s most useful shortcuts.
Google Meet will soon let you wake up by holding down the spacebar and releasing it to turn off again. In an update on Google’s blog (opens in a new tab), the company mentions that people will be able to join meetings quickly this way and will even help in situations where users forget to mute again after speaking. The feature is similar to the operation of a walkie-talkie and will save users an extra click to mute and unmute manually on the app.
The mute feature is not only found on Zoom (called push-to-talk), but also on Cisco Webex. Microsoft Teams has a similar function but with the Ctrl + Space key.
Google says it will start rolling out the update to all Workspace users on September 9, but it could take up to 15 days for the feature to show up for everyone. The feature will not be enabled automatically and will need to be enabled from Google Meet settings.
Notably, Google has introduced many new features for Meet. At Google I/O 2022 in May, the tech giant announced significant upgrades to Meet, including auto-lighting, portrait adjustment for faces, dereverb, and noise removal. Another Google Meet upgrade is integration with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
More recently, the company introduced the ability to toggle between mute and mute with third-party hardware like headsets, mics, and other USB devices. Ending or starting a Google Meet meeting could also be made hardware in the future.
This week Google (opens in a new tab) also said they are updating how the “Hey Google” voice command works for Google Meet hardware. The update mentions that “Google Assistant will only be active when a device is not in a meeting and within 10 minutes of an upcoming meeting” to prevent accidental activation of the assistant during calls.
However, the tech giant has taken a confusing approach to merging its Duo app with Meet on phones. As a result, there are currently two Meet apps – one that combines Duo and Meet and the original Google Meet app.
When I checked Apple’s app store, I found an app called Google Meet with a green icon and another called Google Duo with the Google Meet web icon, which completely puzzled me. We’ll have to see what route Google takes to sort out its video app confusion in the future.