One way of making the endless torrent of personal and work video calls more palatable is by setting unique backgrounds. Google Meet on the web is introducing new “immersive backgrounds” that attempt to give your surroundings some life.

This is done through the use of subtle animations like falling rain or snow, and changes in lighting.  There are five in total: Condo (morning or night) and Cafe (Rainy, Snowy, or Sunny).

Cafe and condo interiors will have various iterations, such as snowy or rainy weather, which will help dispersed teams better represent their current time zone and climate. 

They join the existing video backgrounds: Spaceship, Under the sea, Beach with palm trees, Animated characters sitting in a classroom, Party with dancing characters and disco light, Forest with squirrels and fox.

Meanwhile, Google Meet is now letting users customize their video feed with light and color filters (“Styles” at the bottom), as well as additional stylized backgrounds. They can be set in the green room before you join a call or once you’re in by tapping the three-dot/overflow menu and selecting “Apply visual effects.” 

Immersive backgrounds in the Google Meet web app will be available for all paying Workspace customers over the coming weeks. Free Google Accounts are currently excluded.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com