Artificial Intelligence

Listen to Google Meet’s impressive new background noise cancellation feature in action

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Google Meet’s new AI-powered background noise cancellation has started rolling out, VentureBeat reports. Google announced the feature back in April for its G Suite Enterprise and G Suite Enterprise for Education customers. It’s coming to the web first, with iOS and Android following later.

A video produced by VentureBeat shows the software in action, with G Suite’s director of product management Serge Lachapelle demonstrating how it can pretty seamlessly remove the sound of crackling crisp packets, clicking pens, or glass clinking. Google’s announcement said the tech will also work on dogs barking or the clicking of a keyboard.

VentureBeat reports that Google has been working on the feature for around a year and a half, using thousands of its own meetings to train its AI model. YouTube clips of lots of people talking were also used by the team. However, Lachapelle was keen to emphasize that although the feature will improve over time, the company will not directly use external meetings to train it. Instead, it will use customer support channels to try to identify where the software might be going wrong.

Google isn’t the first company to try to use artificial intelligence to reduce background noise on calls. However, unlike a solution such as Nvidia’s RTX Voice software, Google’s processing happens in the cloud, meaning it can work consistently on a much broader range of hardware. Eventually, this will include smartphones. Lachapelle emphasizes that the data is encrypted during transport, and it’s never accessible outside of the de-noising process.

The new feature is on by default, and Lachapelle says that it won’t give call participants any visual indication that it’s turned on to try to keep the software’s interface clean. However, if you’d like to turn the noise cancellation off, you can do so from the audio menu in Google Meet’s settings.

Google hasn’t given a timeline for when the feature might roll out to non-Enterprise and Enterprise for Education accounts, but Lachapelle says that the hope is to bring it to a “larger and larger” group of users over time.

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