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Google to add background blur, captioning, and low-light mode to Meet video calls

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Google Meet is working on several new features that will match its competitors, including allowing users to add images or a blur effect to backgrounds on video calls, 9to5 Google reported. As they can on rival videoconferencing platforms Zoom and Microsoft Teams, users will be able to either choose their own image or pick from several default options.

Google confirmed to The Verge that in addition to background blur and background replacement images, real-time captioning, low-light mode, hand-raising, and a tile view of up to 49 meeting participants will be rolled out to the consumer version of Meet. The company didn’t provide details about when the changes would be available, but 9to5 Google reported Meet was already previewing some of the upcoming features for its education and enterprise customers.

Google integrated Meet into Gmail last month, adding a sidebar link and making meetings of up to 100 people with no time limits available to anyone with a Google account. It’s working to catch up with videoconferencing juggernaut Zoom, which has been the leading videoconferencing app for people working and learning remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.

Google and Microsoft are starting to catch up to Zoom; Microsoft has grown its Teams app to 75 million daily active users, the company said in April. And Meet recently surpassed 100 million daily Meet meeting participants, according to Google.

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