6 practical tips for Google Meet

Google Meet also allows you to conduct video conferences with people without a Google account, use subtitles, change the background and present. […]

Since the corona pandemic, video conferencing tools such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams have been booming. It has now been almost a year and a half since Google made its video conferencing service Google Meet – originally intended for business customers – available for free to everyone (PCTIPP reported).

Google Meet is available as a web version or for mobile devices (Android, iOS). In addition, Meet is integrated into the in-house email service Gmail, so that you can quickly and easily invite a person for a meeting.

Web version of Google Meet (c) Screenshot/pctipp.ch

Google Alternatives

However, if you are looking for a Google alternative: here we have explained how a video meeting with Jitsi-Meet works. Jitsi Meet is used, for example, by the Swiss web hosting providers Hostpoint and Infomaniak.

On the following pages, PCtipp gives some practical tips for Google Meet.

Tip 1: Video conference in “perfect quality”?

Google Meet on Android
(c) Screenshot/pctipp.ch

At an instant meeting, the author used the Meet app (Android) and the colleague Salvisberg the web version (via Firefox). She could easily join the call via the sent link. She was also asked separately for permission to use the microphone and camera.

Only: the writer did not understand a single word. The colleague sounded like something out of an alien movie; only beeping sounds and clicking sounds could be heard. On the other side of the line, what was said was understandable, but these strange sounds also arrived there on a separate track. So much for the “perfect quality” with which Google advertises.

If this also happens to you: It worked well with the web version.

As of: April 21

Tip 2: Start Google-Meet via Gmail

Inviting someone for a meet-up meeting

  1. Open Gmail.
  2. In the left column you will see the Meet section at the bottom.
  3. Click New Video Conference.
  4. Now a pop-up window will open with the title Share new meeting. Click Send Invitation to send the displayed meet link.
  5. You can now either share the link via e-mail or copy it for other purposes.
  6. If you send the link by e-mail, the text of the meet invitation contains both the invitation link and the meeting code. If the invitation link is used, the code is not required.
  7. The person clicks on the link as well as on Join Now.

Meet via Gmail Web (c) Screenshot/pctipp.ch

Note: This was done using the Gmail web version. In the Gmail app, you can find Meet in a separate tab (tab). From there, tap Get New Video Conference/Meeting link to share. Alternatively, of course, you can use the Google Meet app.

Participate in a Meet-meeting

Web version

  1. Open Gmail for the Web and log in with your Google account
  2. In the left column you will see the Meet section at the bottom.
  3. Now click on Join a meeting.
  4. In the pop-up window, enter the meeting code that you received from the conference organizer.
  5. Click Sign Up to join the video conference.

Google Meet via Gmail; join meeting (c) Screenshot/pctipp.ch

Alternative access to Meet: If you want to use Meet without Gmail, you can of course access the video conferencing service directly via the corresponding Google website or via the Google Meet app.

Note: If you do not see Meet in the left column, the function is hidden. In this case, click on the gear icon and select Call up all settings. On the Chat and Meet tab, under the Meet menu item, you will find the Show “Meet” section option in the main menu. Click on it and then click Save Changes.

Gmail App

Meet via Gmail app
(c) Screenshot/pctipp.ch

  1. Open Gmail for your smartphone.
  2. Tap the Meet tab.
  3. Click here to participate with a code.
  4. Enter the code you received from the organizer.
  5. Now tap Participate.
  6. The camera and microphone are deactivated by default and must be activated separately or the access permission must be granted. Then tap the Participate button again.

Tip 3: Web version: Change background

During a video conference, click on the three-dot icon at the bottom. Select Apply Visual Effects. Now you will see a selection of standard backgrounds, from which you can choose depending on your taste.

It is possible to blur the real background. Meet even offers two stages for this. These can be found just below your small preview at the top, on the right.

If you prefer to upload your own picture: click on the plus button and select a photo. If you don’t want any more backgrounds, select the first button on the top left to hide the backgrounds.

Background effects in Google Meet (4.11.21) (c) Screenshot/pctipp.ch

Note: Backgrounds does not work with Firefox! Colleague Salvisberg received a message that the browser does not support background effects. It worked fine with Google Chrome.

Backgrounds do not work with the Firefox browser (c) Screenshot/pctipp.ch

As of: April 21

Tip 4: Web version: Replace background with (default)video

Instead of static images, video conference participants can also select videos (effects). With the web version it already works. Already in August 2021 it was said that the app would follow, but on 4.11.21 the function is not yet available.

At the moment, however, you can not use just any video, but choose from seven videos created by Google, including a classroom, a party and a forest or a beach. For those who want to try it right away: it already works in the web version of Google Meet.

There are currently seven standard effects from Google (c) Screenshot/pctipp.ch

Note: Use the Chrome browser. The Firefox browser does not currently support visual effects.

  1. Surf to this website on your PC/laptop.
  2. Select Start New Video Conference as well as Instant Meeting.
  3. Allow access to (at least) the camera.
  4. Now click on the three-dot icon (below) and select Apply Visual effects.
  5. The videos can be found in the list at the top.

Tip 5: Web version: Live subtitles

In the lower area of the window you will directly find the Activate Subtitles button. It is automatically subtitled in English. Here you need to be very fast! If you see a pop-up window informing you about the activation of the subtitles and you see the term English next to it, quickly click on it and select German. The window disappears very quickly.

Subtitles for Swiss-German conversations. It was not about a bus schedule… (c) Screenshot/pctipp.ch

Automated live subtitles are already available in the five languages English, French, German, Brazilian Portuguese and Spanish. If you unpack your most beautiful High German, then the quality is not perfect, but not bad either. The subtitling of Swiss German is, as you would expect, very creative.

Note: For this purpose, both video conference participants used the Chrome browser.

Tip 6: Web version: Present

Yes, you can also present with Meet. You can either share your entire screen, a single window or a browser tab.

For the writer, the presentation looked like this… (c) Screenshot/pctipp.ch

At the very bottom (next to Subtitles), click Present Now. Decide whether you want to share everything or just, for example, a window. You can select the appropriate one, for example, an open Word document.

… and for the colleague to whom a window has been released, so (c) Screenshot/pctipp.ch

Note: For this purpose, both video conference participants used the Chrome browser.

(Origin April 2021; updated on 4.11.21)

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