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Google Meet’s new backgrounds make it seem like you’re actually in a coffee shop, local weather and all

The backgrounds will also change the lighting on your actual face.

google meet immersive backgroudns
Image: KnowTechie

One thing I hate about video calls is that it gives the people who are joining me on the call a view into the world I live in. Sure, some have it better than others when it comes to their working environment, but sometimes folks have to work in a dark basement or a tiny corner of their home.

Google knows this, so it added a suite of new immersive backgrounds to Google Meet that mimic a classier environment such as a coffee shop or a high-end condo because let’s face it, they know how embarrassing your real background is.

What’s really cool about these new immersive backgrounds is that if it’s snowing or raining wherever you live, those animations will be displayed in your background. Google says this will help dispersed teams better represent their current time zone and climate.

Not only that, but lighting from the background is actually reactive, and will change the lighting on your face depending on where the light source is coming from. 

Unfortunately, these background features are only available to Google Workspace customers, as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers. Personal Google accounts do not have access to this, and there’s no telling if they ever will. Google didn’t really clarify this in its announcement.

But for paying Google Workspace customers looking to try this out, whoever manages the admin account of your organization will have to switch them on. If that’s you, here’s head over to Admin console > Apps > Google Workspace > Settings for Google Meet > Meet video setting and toggle the setting on.

Google says it is gradually rolling this out now to Google Workspace customers, so if you don’t see it yet – be patient, it’s coming. More details can be found here.

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