Google Meet takes inspiration from the metaverse with 360-degree virtual backgrounds

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Google Meet adds a new feature for video conferencing: animated backgrounds and 360-degree videos on smartphones and tablets. Enough to move with the background without creating a weird effect. For now, this new feature will be reserved for Google Workspace users.

Google Meet interface
Google Meet interface // Source: Google

At the end of 2020, at a time when health restrictions were making video conferencing explode, particularly via Zoom, Google Meet drew custom backgrounds: just add any background photo while unchecking, so as not to show your home. A year later, the video conferencing app has been enhanced with realistic animated backgrounds that can change based on the weather or time of day. This time, Google Meet takes things a step further with 360-degree virtual backgrounds.

360 degree virtual environments in Google Meet

Google said on the Workspace blog that it will roll out 360-degree video backgrounds for the mobile version of Meet. These are in addition to the immersive backgrounds and there are two available: a beach and a temple. In fact, the function uses the gyroscope of your smartphone or its touch panel to reproduce your position in the virtual environment. Google claims that ” admins can enable or disable backgrounds for their users “. An experience that is available on Android and iOS right now.

360° backgrounds in Google Meet // Source: Google

At the moment, the functionality is released or in the process of being implemented; within a fortnight, it should be available to everyone. However, not all accounts will be able to benefit from it: only Google Workspace and G Suite customers will be eligible for it. We can imagine that in the long term, Google will make this function available to all users, although nothing guarantees it.

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