Google Meet starts rolling out custom background images on the web

Google Meet continues its onslaught of pre-announced features today with the launch of custom backgrounds during video calls. This customization is a staple of modern conferencing apps, and one that helps convey “more of your personality.”

The capability itself is fairly straightforward, with Google offering “hand-picked images.” This includes office spaces, landscapes, and abstract backgrounds, but users can upload their own. The company bills it as another way to “hide your surroundings,” joining background blur.

Controls are housed in the “Change background” menu item that’s available before and during calls:

  • To select a pre-uploaded background, click a background.
  • To upload your own image for your background, click Add.

This built-in capability does “not require an extension or any additional software.” It’s coming first to Chrome for Mac and Windows, as well as Chrome OS. It will then be available for the Meet’s Android and iOS apps, with Google saying this is “coming soon.” 

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Moving forward, Google will introduce controls later this year that will let Admins determine what organizational units can change their background. However, right out of the gate, participants (i.e. students) of meetings started by Education customers cannot set their own picture 

Google is rolling out custom backgrounds to Meet starting today, with full availability set for the coming weeks for:

Essentials, Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Enterprise for Education, and Nonprofits customers and users with personal Google accounts.

It comes as Google Meet in Q3 of this year saw a peak of 235 million daily meeting participants and 7.5 billion daily video call minutes.

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