Google plans to add a Zoom-like gallery view to its business- and education-focused Meet videoconferencing service and let users take calls right from Gmail, Google’s GM and VP of G Suite Javier Soltero told Reuters in an interview. The additions come amid huge growth for Meet as families, students, and workers use the service while at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The upcoming gallery view will let users display up to 16 meeting participants in one frame, according to Reuters. That functionality is coming later this month, said Soltero. Zoom’s gallery view, by contrast, lets you see the thumbnails of up to 49 people in one screen, if you have a powerful enough CPU to display them all.
Meet’s new integration with Gmail sounds as if it will let Meet users start or answer a call right from their Gmail window, similar to how you can start or answer calls using Hangouts, Google’s consumer-focused chat and videoconferencing app, in Gmail. The feature will begin rolling out for G Suite customers today on the web and to mobile at a later date, Google said.
“With more and more people working and learning from home, we want to make it easier for you to connect and keep things moving forward,” Google said in a statement. “With Meet in Gmail, you can easily start or join a meeting in seconds. Our goal is to help you follow the flow of the day, seamlessly switching between email and video meetings — whichever form of communication you need.”
Google is also adding the ability for Meet to improve video quality when you have dim lighting conditions and to filter out background noise while you’re on a call, according to Reuters. Those features will also be added later this month, Reuters reports.
Google said last week that Meet was adding more than 2 million users per day. Meet has added more daily users than any other Google service since January, according to Reuters. A recent peak in Meet growth added 60 percent more users than the day before, Soltero told Reuters.
Last Thursday, Google extended free access to some advanced Meet features until September 30th — previously, that free access was scheduled to end on July 1st.