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Google Meet adds support for custom virtual backgrounds

Virtual backgrounds will initially work on ChromeOS and on the Chrome browser on Windows and Mac desktop devices while support on Google Meet mobile apps will be coming soon.

Devdiscourse News Desk | California | Updated: 31-10-2020 10:01 IST | Created: 31-10-2020 10:01 IST
Google Meet adds support for custom virtual backgrounds
Image Credit: Google

After adding the ability to filter out disruptive background noise and blur background, Google Meet has now added support for custom virtual backgrounds that allows users to replace their background with an image.

Google Meet users can pick the image from Google's library that includes office spaces, landscapes, and abstract backgrounds or upload their own. Virtual backgrounds will initially work on ChromeOS and on the Chrome browser on Windows and Mac desktop devices while support on Meet mobile apps will be coming soon.

In a blog post, Google said that the virtual backgrounds feature in Meet is powered by cutting-edge web ML technologies built with MediaPipe that work directly within a browser and do not require an extension or any additional software.

"One key goal in developing these features was to provide real-time, in-browser performance on almost all modern devices, which we accomplished by combining efficient on-device ML models, WebGL-based rendering, and web-based ML inference via XNNPACK and TFLite," Google said in the post.

Currently, there is no admin control for the virtual backgrounds feature, Google says admin controls to select which organizational units can use custom and preset backgrounds for meetings they organize will be introduced later this year.

The custom virtual backgrounds feature has started rolling out to Rapid Release domains and it will be rolled out to Scheduled Release domains starting November 6. The feature is available to Essentials, Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Enterprise for Education, and Nonprofits customers and users with personal Google accounts.

Notably, participants of meetings organized by Education customers can't change their background images.


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