The sudden spike in the popularity of video conferencing tools led to Zoom becoming a household name in the span of just a few weeks, and Google is still working to catch up. The company's consumer video chat application, Duo, now supports joining calls using a link and groups of up to 32 people. Now the company is aggressively integrating Google Meet, its business-oriented conferencing tool, into the Gmail mobile app.
"Today, we’re bringing Meet to Gmail on Android and iOS, so that you can easily join video meetings from your inbox," Google wrote in a blog post today. "In the coming weeks, you’ll soon notice a new Meet tab on your phone’s Gmail app where you can see upcoming meetings scheduled in Google Calendar, and easily join them with a single tap." You'll also be able to create new meetings from Gmail, which creates a link that can be shared with others.
The feature is very obviously a rush job, as an entire bottom tab bar was added to the Gmail app purely for the inclusion of Meet integration. There's already a hamburger menu in Gmail for less-important functions, but product exposure is clearly the driving factor with this change, not making users' lives easier.
There will be a settings option to disable the Meet tab entirely, but the added code required for joining Meet calls from Gmail will still bloat up the app's size. We'll keep an eye out for the first APK with this functionality integrated.