You read that right: Google will soon let you call another Google user with Google Meet within the Gmail mobile app as well as receive calls. In a blog post, the company said that it will bring one-on-one Google Meet calling to Gmail in order to let people strike up spontaneous conversations with colleagues.
Aside from that, Google revealed various Workplace features today, most of which are small and future updates, but they signal that Gmail is shaping up to be the central hub for all Google communication apps. For one, the company's "Rooms" has been rebranded to "Spaces" in an effort to increase the app's visibility, making Spaces discoverable to search as an option and adding full support for threaded messages. The app allows users to communicate with colleagues without the need to initiate a video meeting, facilitating asynchronous collaboration.
To lessen the hassle of scheduling meetings, Google Calendar will enable users to indicate their location for each workday, helpful for those who are observing hybrid work. When applied, meeting organisers and on-site support staff can plan face-to-face and virtual meetings ahead of time.
When it comes to hybrid meetings, Google saw the need to connect in-person and online attendees, consequently creating Companion mode in Google Meet. With the functionality, you can use your laptop to host or join a call from within a conference room and enhance in-room audio and video, ensuring that there will be no audio feedback. This mode similarly allows you to share or view presentations on your device, talk to co-workers via the meeting chat and whiteboard, create and vote on polls as well as ask a question in Q&A wherever you are. Companion mode will be initially rolled out to customers in November 2021.
Another upcoming addition is live-translated captions, which will launch in Meet and in its Companion mode by the end of 2021. Google said that it is working towards translating meetings in English to Spanish, French, German and Portuguese. Other languages will be added in the future.
The company also announced two all-in-one video conferencing devices that will supplement Google's Series One Room Kits: The Series One Board 65 and the Series One Desk 27. The Series One Board 65 is a 65-inch 4K device that you can pair with an optional stand. Just like its name suggests, the Series One Desk 27 has a 27-inch screen and can be placed on your desktop or in small spaces. Both models can serve as an external display and allow owners to collaborate within the built-in Jamboard app, an interactive whiteboard that can let you and your colleagues sketch out ideas.
Leveraging its high-fidelity audio and high-definition video capabilities, the Series One Desk 27 and the Series One Board 65 is optimised for Google Meet. If you want to use another meeting app, then you need to run the video-conferencing platform on your laptop, then connect the laptop to the device with a USB-C cable.
Other devices became a part of the Google Meet hardware ecosystem such as the Logitech Rally Bar Mini and Rally Bar, allowing professionals working from small to mid-sized rooms to set up an all-in-one video conferencing system. The Rayz Rally Pro — Appcessori's new mobile device speaker dock — automatically launches Google Meet for video meetings and provides users with an enhanced audio experience from their mobile device.
Google similarly unveiled its partnership with Cisco, which will make sure that you will be able to initiate a Google Meet meeting on Webex hardware and a Webex meeting on Google Meet hardware. As of now, interoperability with Webex is supported on the Series One Desk 27, the Series Board 65 and other Google Meet hardware.
Written by Sophia Lopez
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