Gmail's rather obnoxious Google Meet integration began to roll out widely to users of the app today on Android, signaling that the space-wasting UI tweak is moving full steam ahead. Our devices have started receiving it, and it's just as annoying as you'd expect, eating a solid 10-20% of your Gmail inbox list UI depending on how long your display is. It's a blatant attempt to shoehorn Meet into an extremely popular Google app, as Google commits to offensive action in the videoconferencing wars.

The integration, thankfully, can be disabled in the account-specific settings of the Gmail app (it's not under general settings, so don't bother), which removes the UI entirely. You'll probably want to do that, too, because look at that screenshot. Yeesh.

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.

Google Meet is rapidly expanding in popularity as COVID-19 forces most workplaces to remain remote, and demand for reliable video conferencing software skyrockets. While Meet is still playing a game of catch-up with Zoom in regard to features, its user base continues to pale in comparison, and Google is doing everything it can to promote and make it more accessible in general. Back in May, Google made Meet free for everyone (for up to 1 hour calls), which undoubtedly drove that massive surge in installs.

While Google has a video chat client in Duo, Meet serves the more specific and often agenda-drive video conferencing use case, so the two really don't overlap, at least technically speaking. Still, feature fragmentation remains, and Google needs to move quickly to ensure both platforms develop from the tech advances of one another, something that's been a little rocky to date.

If you don't see the Meet integration in your Gmail app, don't worry—it's coming. Whether you want it to or not.