As we enter 2022, it’s clear that hybrid meetings will be a mainstay of how work happens for millions of people around the world. Across the Google Workspace team, we spent much of last year improving the hybrid experience within our tools, especially in Google Meet. New features like automatic noise cancellation, new virtual backgrounds, and automatic light adjustment have helped keep the focus on people and ensure that everyone can be seen and heard in a hybrid meeting—no matter how and where they’re joining.
Google also spent much of last year developing our own best practices as a team for making hybrid meetings as inclusive as possible. I’m happy to share our approach below, which takes advantage of the latest innovations in Google Workspace tools—from Calendar to Spaces to Meet updates.
Putting Companion mode to work in hybrid meetings
In 2021, we pre-announced Companion mode in Google Meet, which is designed to seamlessly connect those in the conference room with their remote teammates, giving everyone access to advanced host and participation features, while leveraging the best of in-room audio and video conferencing capabilities.
You can now use Companion mode on your laptop while you’re in a meeting connected to Google Meet hardware or the Nest Hub Max. Companion mode, which begins rolling out in general release today, allows you to access interactive features and controls such as chat, screen sharing, hand raising, polls, host controls and more, while keeping your video and audio off to avoid feedback with the conference room hardware. Additionally, you can enable captions and translations in your preferred language and view presentations up-close on your own device.
You can join a meeting using Companion mode from the meeting landing page or by using g.co/companion. If you intend to immediately share content, you can simultaneously join the meeting and present from Companion mode using g.co/present.
Companion mode can help teams include more people—and perspectives—in every hybrid meeting.