Google Meet is a video-communication service developed by Google for hosting personal and business virtual meetings. It is one of two apps that replaced Google Hangouts. Google announces that its video-communication service will soon have the ability to turn off participants’ microphones or cameras in a bid to prevent them from turning them back on. The search giant made the announcement via a blog post. The feature would go a long way to reduce distractions or interruptions during meetings. The host would have the ability to keep noisy or rowdy attendees on mute. The new feature essentially also prevents muted users from unmuting themselves until when unlocked.
The company explains that the microphone and camera lock feature by default would be off, however it is the host that has the responsibility to turn it on or off during meetings as desired. For meetings that would have breakout rooms, any audio or video locks made by the host in the main room will apply as well. However, any changes made to a lock setting within a breakout room will not apply to other breakout rooms or the main room. Google notes that the new audio and video lock feature will give hosts unlimited control over their meetings. The host has the ability to decide when different levels of participation from users can be welcomed. It also gives them the ability to keep disruptive meeting participants in check during the course of a meeting.
As fantastic as the idea for this feature may be, users still using older versions of the apps for Android or iOS will be kicked off from the meeting once a host turns on the lock feature. Again once the feature is turned on ahead for a meeting, users with older apps, will not be able to join the meeting at all. Google says that only by turning off the lock feature ahead or during a meeting will users using older apps be able to take part in a meeting. The new feature only supports updated versions of the app, not the old versions. Google hereby advises users to ensure their apps are updated in other to avoid being kicked off or prevented from participating in a meeting with the new feature.
All Google Workspace users will have unlimited access to the new lock feature during meetings. It has begun rolling out for the Rapid Release tracks users on Thursday. It will start rolling out for the Scheduled Release track users by November 1st. This is one of the numerous ways Google meet is trying to attract more users as well as compete with other video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. The video conferencing space experienced tremendous growth and rising market demand as a result of the pandemic which open so many consumers to working remotely.