In light of Zoom’s newfound hegemony over the video conferencing space, Google overhauled its Hangouts Meet offering, giving it a new name along with some original and even a few borrowed features. The Zoom-style grid participants view that made its way to Google Meet in April will now also be available during ongoing presentations.
Google’s version of the tiled layout basically lets you see up to 16 active participants during a conference call. The idea is to give you a sense of being in an actual meeting room or a class where you can see your colleagues nodding and emoting. From now on, you’ll be able to switch to this new layout even when someone is presenting or sharing their screen.
The presentation will take up the majority of your display space, while individual user streams will appear in two rows at the bottom (as seen above). Your layout choice will be automatically applied to your future calls, though you’ll have the option to switch any time. You can pick from Auto, Spotlight, and Sidebar layout options, in addition to the Tile view — whatever works for you.
The feature is already live for both G Suite users and those with personal Google accounts. As a reminder, Google Meet has lifted a few restrictions for both these user groups until the end of September 2020.