Google Meet has finally caught up to Zoom in the only important way that matters: custom backgrounds. Now, instead of just being able to cut down on background noise and/or blurring out your background, you can now replace it entirely with the image of your choice. Whew, it's taken long enough, huh?
Users will be able to select from Google's own variety of pictures or upload your own on Meet through Chrome OS and Chrome on Windows and macOS starting today for Google Workspaces on Rapid Release domains and from November 6 for Scheduled Release domains. Education users starting a Meet room will not be able to take advantage of this feature.
You'll know when you get the custom backgrounds when you see this new icon while on a Meet Call and in the preview page. Tap on it and then select whether you want a light blur effect, a stronger blur, a pre-loaded background, or your own uploaded background. Later this year, if you're in a G Suite organization, your administrator may elect to control who can use custom and preset backgrounds.
Meet's mobile apps will get the feature in a later update, so it'll still be playing catch-up to Zoom's Android app.
You can learn more about how Google has engineered its subject-background filter for performance and efficiency by checking out this blog post from the AI team.