If there’s one feature that has been enjoying cult status with users ever since this whole fiasco of having to attend meetings from home began, it has to be background customization. And rightly so! Attending meetings from home is not as easy as it might appear. There’s so much just waiting to go wrong.
People love background customizations for precisely this reason. It can save us from so many potential embarrassments and distractions in the meeting. Nobody in the meeting needs to sees how messy your makeshift office is. And with background customization, you don’t have to frantically clean up the mess before the meeting every time. You can instead hide it. Almost like magic!
And Google Meet is finally on board the “background customization” train. The video conferencing app has started rolling out the Background Blur feature to all its users and will soon add support for Background Replace (aka virtual background) as well.
Requirements to Use Background Blur
The Background Blur feature in Google Meet will intelligently separate you from the background while keeping you clear and in focus. But there’s a little catch. To ensure that it works properly and doesn’t end up blurring you instead, it will only be compatible with devices that have a quad-core processor at the minimum and support Hyper-Threading.
It works directly in the browser, and you don’t have to download any additional software or extensions for it to work. Also, initially, it will only be available for use on the Google Chrome browser on Windows and Mac desktop devices.
Support for Chromebooks and mobile apps is still in development. Whether or not will the support for other browsers be released is yet to be seen as there’s no word on it.
How to Blur your Background in Google Meet
The background blur will not be on by default, as it can slow your system somewhat down. So, you’ll need to turn it on in the meeting whenever you want to use it. Google also advises turning off the feature when you want other apps to run faster on your computer.
The feature has only started rolling out and will take a few days to reach everyone. So if it hasn’t reached you yet, remember that patience is a virtue. Also, there’s nothing else to be done other than being patient.
For users who have already received the feature, you can either blur your background before joining the meeting or during it.
To blur your background before joining the meeting, go to the self-view screen on the ‘Meeting ready’ page. On the bottom right corner of the screen, click the ‘Turn on Background Blur’ button. Then click the ‘Join now’ button to enter the meeting with your background already blurred.
To blur your background during the meeting, click on the ‘More options’ icon (three dots) on the rightmost corner of the meeting toolbar.
Then, click on the ‘Turn on Background Blur’ option from the menu. You can turn off background blur at any time during the meeting from the same menu.
It might have taken some time, but Google has finally delivered one of the most coveted features in the video conferencing ecosystem to its users. Now, the only remaining thing to see is when the company will be releasing support for custom backgrounds with the Background Replace feature so you can use all sorts of background images in Google Meet to change your background. That’s probably the only thing users would love more than the background blur.