With the pandemic causing a massive shift to remote work and learning, video conferencing and collaboration apps have seen unprecedented usage. One such app from Google that has been constantly improved over time is Meet. As more educational institutions move to use online means for classes, the search giant today announced improvements coming to the service aimed at the teachers and education users overall.
The first of the features are ones geared towards classrooms – and teachers particularly. Teachers or class organizers will soon be able to end a meeting for all users at once, preventing students from staying in the meeting after the organizer has left. This works for breakout rooms as well. Meeting hosts will also receive the ability to mute all participants at once and control the times that students or attendees can unmute themselves. These features are expected to roll out in the next few weeks.
Later this year, Google Classroom will begin integrating with Meet. The integration will add capabilities such as limiting attendees depending on the Classroom roster or preventing students from joining before the teacher when meetings are created in Classroom. Every teacher in Google Classroom will automatically become a meeting host, and Meet itself will receive support for multiple hosts, making it easy for teachers to manage and monitor meetings with a large number of students.
Users on tablets and smartphones will also receive the ability to manage meetings and use moderation options such as control who joins a meeting, prevent certain users from sharing their screens or sending messages in the chat, and the like. These features will be added in the next few months, the firm says. A feature making it to Education Plus users later this year is the option to schedule breakout room sessions ahead of time to save time during a class. The tool will also add support for post-meeting transcripts for those that missed classes, which can be easily shared with students. This feature will become available later in the year.
Some other minor improvements coming to the tool include support for different skin tones in the reaction picker. Hosts and admins will also be able to ascertain the times that the reaction picker is available. There will also be improvements to the performance of the tool on Chromebooks and in low-bandwidth scenarios.
Lastly, the Mountain View giant is adding a bunch of new Admin controls for the service such as the option to set policies on user restrictions in schools, including limiting access to external parties based on requirements. Google Meet audit logs are now available for admins and they will soon be able to display external users’ email addresses and the like. Education Standard and Education Plus license holders will also get improvements to the investigation tool.
Overall, all these features will further improve the usability of the offering in educational setups. Of course, some of these features might already be present on competing services such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. However, these will be nifty additions for Google’s education customers – a market that the search firm is popular in.