Google Meet is getting a much-needed range of updates to make the platform’s hand-raise feature work more effectively.
The changes, which have been fully outlined in an update log from Google (spotted by 9to5Google), might seem like minor additions on the surface, but with remote working still a reality for many people, they’re very welcome all the same. Essentially, they’re about making the hand-raise feature “easier to notice and address” — an upgrade Meet most definitely needs if it’s to take on Microsoft Teams and Zoom.
The most immediately apparent aspect of this update will be the “updated and improved visual icon and animation” that will play whenever a user raises their hand. Of course, while this animation is pretty flashy, it actually does very little to improve functionality. Thankfully, this isn’t all the update contains.
Slightly more useful additions added by this update include the tiles of users with a raised hand being moved to a more visible spot in grid view, so a speaker is less likely to miss any hands in the air. Plus, there will now be an audio notification when a participant first raises their hand, as well as an alert displaying the number of raised hands and the order in which they were first raised.
Finally, “a participant’s hand will be automatically lowered after they speak.” This will be extremely useful for those forgetful coworkers who spend entire meetings with a raised hand after failing to put it back down.
All these features will be enabled by default and are being currently being rolled out to Google Workspace users. Google notes, though, that they won’t be available on G Suite Basic or for users with a personal Google Account. Instead, they appear to be designed for use primarily by those using WorkSpace as part of a larger organization.
These changes come in the wake of Google eliminating the need to pay to access Google Workspace earlier this month. It seems the tech giant is aggressively going after competing services like Zoom and Teams, so expect to see more ease-of-use updates in the future.