Google is rolling out an update for video conferencing service Meet that will improve the quality of a popular feature: background effects.
As explained in a new blog post (opens in new tab), Google Meet is now better at separating background from foreground, which makes for a far cleaner effect when utilizing features like light adjustment and background blur.
The company has also introduced the ability to shift the processing load for background effects to the cloud, so users working with low-cost business laptops can enjoy the same quality of experience as those running Meet on more powerful hardware.
Background effects in Google Meet
Following the transition to remote working at the start of the pandemic, practically all major video conferencing providers introduced the ability to either blur the background or replace it with a static image.
The idea was to provide an all-important measure of privacy, when people were having to work out of their bedrooms or share communal space with flatmates, partners and children.
However, not all background effects are made equal and the quality differs from provider to provider. Until now, Google Meet users will likely have noticed a number of jarring imperfections, particularly when gesticulating with their head or hands.
But judging by the example included in the blog post, the latest under-the-hood changes offer a dramatic improvement, increasing the tightness with which the virtual background hugs the user’s outline on-screen.
Separately, Google says the new cloud processing functionality has the potential to improve laptop battery life and reduce the CPU load by as much as 30%. The division of processing between the cloud and device will be optimized on the fly to promote the best possible experience.
The latest Google Meet update will be available to the majority of professional users, but personal account users and companies on the Essentials and Starter plans will be excluded.