We don’t think we have to tell you that remote work app downloads have increased dramatically in the past few months, with around two-thirds of U.S. employees currently working at home due to COVID-19. With this statistic alone, it’s no wonder that Google Meet has reached 100 million app downloads, doubling its all-time app downloads in a matter of only 50 days.
So, what’s the benefit of using Google Meet? Well, you’re able to be in the comfort of your own home (or anywhere with an internet connection) and have a face-to-face meeting with someone who’s on the other side of the world. Google Meet (or Google Hangouts Meet) is similar to what you may know as Google Hangouts, except with a few key business-friendly differences.
If you’re looking to add Google Meet to a part of your team’s daily standups, or if you’re just looking for an outlet to have an occasional virtual meeting, we’ve got you covered. We’re going to take you through how to use Google Meet for beginners, so you can get to scheduling your next virtual meeting ASAP.
1. Open Meet
There are multiple options available to access Google Meet, whether you’re on your at-home desktop, laptop, or on a mobile device or tablet. Let’s take a look at how you open Google Meet, so you can get your conference started.
There are two basic ways to access Google Meet on your desktop or laptop. The first is by going into your app launcher which you can easily locate on the Google.com homepage. The app launcher looks like a square cluster of nine little boxes, which you will find in the upper-right corner of your screen.
While you will see both Google Hangouts and Google Meet in your app launcher, you’re going to want to select Google Meet, which can be identified by its camera icon.
If the Google Meet icon is not currently at the top of your app manager, you can simply drag and drop the icons around to order them for convenience.
An additional way to start a session with Google Meet is by typing https://meet.google.com/ into your browser. It’s important to note that the full version of Meet is only available to those with a paid G Suite account, which is essentially Gmail for business. The good news is that anyone with a Google account can join a Meet but just can’t host a meeting.
If you’re looking for a third way to access Google Meets, you can do so right in your Google calendar, which can also be found in the task manager. By entering into the calendar and clicking on any given date, you can schedule a Google Meet meeting right then and there, by selecting Add Conferencing. That way, the direct link to the Google Meet chat room will also be conveniently saved right in the calendar.
Access from Your Mobile
If you’re looking to use Google Meet on your mobile device instead of your computer, a free app is available for download on both Android and iOS phones and tablets. While it may seem confusing, the mobile version of Meet is actually called Hangout Meet, which allows a phone or tablet to access Meet in a similar way to the desktop version. Keep in mind, that you cannot host a meeting on the mobile version, but you can still join an ongoing one.
Another fun fact about Google Meet is that you do not actually need a Google account at all to join a meeting. All you need is a web browser or the app on their phone, and they can join by simply accessing the link.
2. Let’s Get This Meeting Started
As a G Suite account member, you are immediately presented with a clickable panel after launching Google Meet that has the option to join or start a meeting. Keep in mind that your screen will only present this option to you if you do have a G Suite or a Google Business account.
In the same section of the screen, you will also have access to any meetings that you’ve previously scheduled in Google Calendar, or that you have accepted by another G Suite member.
If you are not a G Suite member, your Google Meet homepage will look just a little different than the above screen. You will only have the option to join a meeting and will not be able to schedule one.
If you are part of an organization, they may have turned on the option for you to schedule meetings, regardless if you have signed up for a G Suite account. In this case, you can ask your administrator if they can turn on permissions for you, or if there is a reason that they are not using it.
If you are enabled and ready to go with your G Suite account, you can go ahead and click on Join or Start a Meeting. To start a meeting, you need to name it by typing the name into the toolbar and pressing Continue.
3. Control Camera and Sound
When a meet is created, or when you first join a meeting, your system will immediately be checked for conferencing functionality, including audio inputs, outputs, and video links. You will receive a notification asking if you wish to give access to your microphone and camera. It’s important that you select Allow and not Block, as you will not be granted access if you don’t allow accessibility.
After enabling your microphone and camera, your default sound and video may be turned off. To turn them on, you can simply click on the icons at the bottom of the display panel, which will toggle these features on and off at your leisure. Although you do want to make sure these features are enabled, the ability to turn your audio and video off and on can be especially handy, especially with the inevitable distractions that come with working at home.
4. Be a Presenter
If you’re the only person in the meeting, Meet will give you the option to present right on this main page, next to the option Join Now. As a presenter, you can display your computer desktop to the other attendees. The option to present will still be present once others join your meeting but will be located next to Turn On Captions.
Anyone who joins the meeting is actually able to present, so it’s not an exclusive feature of the person who creates the Meet or is the first attendee.
Once you select Present, you can then select whether you would like to display your entire screen or just your application window. From there, you can make your selection and select Share. The ability to share presentations is a fantastic way to feel like you’re all in the same room having a meeting, without having to miss out on valuable real-time presentations.
5. Dial In
When joining a Meet, you have the option to connect by phone instead of using a desktop or mobile app. This is convenient for those who are on the road or may not have access to a Wi-Fi connection. To do this, you need to select Join Using a Phone for Audio, which can be found under Other Options.
From here, you can select Call Me or Dial In. You have the option to enter your phone number below for the Call Me feature to work, or you will receive a phone number to call by selecting Dial In after selecting your country.
You will also have the option after having joined the Meet to use your phone as your audio source, while still using your video.
6. Add people
A meeting isn’t exactly fun all by yourself, so you’re going to want to add at least one person to your Meet! There are several ways to do this after you create your Meet. By selecting Join Now, you will immediately be prompted with an option to Add Others.
Once selected, you will be immediately presented with the link to your Google Meet and your dial-in phone number, which can be copied and shared with others for direct access. On the same screen, you can also add people by email and send them an invitation this way.
If you’re looking for a shortcut, you can easily add those that are part of your organization, as they will all be listed under Add People and can be clicked on to add. You can also call those users directly from the app if you want to check if they’re available right at that moment.
7. Additional Features
Recording a Meeting
Recording a meeting (with all parties’ consent of course) is a great way to look back and reflect on the meeting without having to take notes. With Google Meet, this is incredibly easy to do and requires just the click of a button.
You’ll be able to find three little dots on the bottom right-hand corner of the meeting, where you can select Record Meeting. It’s important to note that your administrator will have this option disabled by default, so it’s important to make sure this feature is enabled before relying on it.
By clicking on the name of the meeting in the lower left-hand corner, you will be able to review the details of the meeting, as well as attachments. Attachments, will display any files or documents that were attached to the invite when you created the Meet with Google Calendar.
You will have the ability to turn captions on or off when you are in full screen, on the bottom right-hand corner. It may be easier for some to read captions, they may be having audio issues, or they may just like having the option to confirm what’s being said in the meeting. And generally, the Captions option will do a pretty good job at picking up what you’re saying.
Below the Record Meeting option, you also have the option of changing your layout. From here, you will have different options of how you would like your screen to look, including as a sidebar, spotlight, or tiled layout.
If you are looking to change the quality of your audio or video, you can access your settings in the same bottom right sidebar option. You can also test your audio and video here to ensure that it is working.
On the upper right-hand corner of the screen, you will find two small icons next to a small video screen, showing yourself. You can view the attendees of your meeting from here, as well as access to Chat. The Chat features allow you to type information to all attendees of your Meet. Keep in mind that you can’t message attendees individually using this feature or turn the chat off.
The Future of Google Meet
While Google Hangouts is still technically in existence, it was reported that the traditional Hangouts would be phased out in June of 2020. As of now, it serves much of the same functionality as Google Meet for regular Google users who are not part of G Suite. Google is looking to focus its efforts solely on a single set of messaging and video chatting apps, known as Google Meet and Google Chat. There would be one version for consumers and another single set of matching products for business teams.
Confused? So are we. And by the sounds of it, so is Google. Having said that, if you are a current G Suite Meet user, you’re really not going to be seeing that many changes, besides the fact that you’ll be able to give the newly branded Google Chat a shot. Stay tuned!