The video conferencing app is built into the core of Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slide. Result: collaboration around documents takes on a new dimension.
At the end of March, Google announced its intention to integrate Google Meet with its document editing applications Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slide. It is now done. A camera-shaped icon appears in the taskbar of all three applications. It allows you to launch a Meet videoconference directly in these tools, whether or not it is registered in Google Calendar, and to invite participants to join it. Everyone having the possibility of collaborating around the open document, of co-editing it with several people…
“This is a feature that Zoom or Microsoft Teams do not offer,” says Bastien Le Lann, associate director at Lecko. And Thomas Poinsot, AMAO consultant at Spectrum Group, adds: “This development is part of a deeper movement in favor of ever more real-time content management.” After the management of comments in the texts, the processing of tasks around the file or the possibility of chatting around a shared document on the model of Microsoft Teams, Google Meet thus offers a whole new experience of live collaboration.
Google takes over the lead
The two consultants agree on one point: by integrating videoconferencing into the document, Google is reclaiming a place as an innovator on the market. A position he has tended to lose in recent years. “The use case is excellent. We start by collaborating asynchronously on a file. But there is bound to be a time when we need to meet, either to decide or to agree on a part”, explains Bastien Le Lann. “Here, Google is focusing on its historical core business in Workspace: the management and production of synchronous documents with several people. It is a positioning marker.”
“The application introduces the sharing of polls and questions and answers, elements historically the responsibility of visual management specialists”
Google obviously targets companies that have reached a good degree of maturity on the cloud collaboration front. “The group is targeting teams that have freed themselves from the historical constraints of the file stored locally, with its multiple versions, and who agree to work together on the same shared document in SaaS mode”, develops Bastien Le Lann. In short, actors who have come out of the logic of Office 365.
Another strategic shift, the Mountain View company intends to position Google Meet more than ever as a communication solution, both internal and external. The app now supports up to 500 active participants per meeting. “It also introduces the sharing of polls and questions and answers, dimensions historically the responsibility of visual management specialists,” adds Thomas Poinsot at Spectrum Group. In a large group, Google Meet will also allow live video to be broadcast to more than 100,000 Google Workspace domains, for example the President’s annual message. Better still, Google intends to give the possibility within a few months to stream Google Meet video streams on Youtube.
The Californian does not forget the integration of Google Meet with the rest of the Google Workspace suite. On this point, Google introduces a multitasking mode called picture-in-picture. It allows you to navigate from one Chrome tab to another, to work on several Workspace applications for example, while having a Google Meet meeting in progress appearing in a floating mini-window (see animation below). “It’s a mechanism that may seem anecdotal, but which does not exist on Edge and which contributes to making the work experience very fluid”, argues one at Lecko.
In terms of security, Google Meet introduces the possibility of encrypting videoconferences on user terminals. As for end-to-end encryption of Meet communications, Google plans to launch it by the end of the year. This is an area where it will catch up, with both Microsoft Teams and Zoom already offering this feature. “This is a central selling point for companies in the decision-making phases, especially against Microsoft, which has a huge lead in terms of information protection and security”, argues Bastien Le Lann. It was unthinkable for Google to leave this field aside.
AI to optimize video quality
Latest chapter: During the Google I/O conference on March 12, Google announced several improvements coming this year to improve the video and audio experience of Meet. The application will notably integrate a “Portrait restoration” function. A device that does not offer Zoom or Teams. Goal: Fix poor quality video streams, suffering from low light, poor connectivity, or a poorly performing webcam. The processing, based on AI, will be managed in the cloud to avoid cannibalizing the resources of the terminal. The light can also be customized to simulate a studio rendering. The same goes for sounds. A de-reverberation function will be introduced to filter any echoes.
Finally, Google announces the launch of automatic transcription of meetings for this year, and the release of a meeting summary function for next year, not present at Zoom and Teams. Two novelties based again on machine learning.