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 started rolling out the Background Blur feature as a standalone feature, but it is now part of Background Replace (aka virtual background) in Google Meet.
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 as well as Chromebooks.
Support for mobile apps is still in development and is expected to release within a week. 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.
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 ‘Change Background’ button.
The menu for changing the background will appear from the bottom of the screen. There are two options to blur your screen in the meeting.
The first is the ‘Slightly Blur your Background’ option. This one doesn’t blur the background too prominently but keeps things casual. People get a general idea of what’s in the background but not details.
The second is the ‘Blur your Background’ option that renders your surroundings completely invisible. Click the thumbnail to select it and enter the meeting with the selected effect.
To blur your background during the meeting, click on the ‘More options’ icon (three dots) on the rightmost corner of the meeting toolbar. Then, select the ‘Change Background’ option from the menu.
The ‘Backgrounds’ menu will appear from the right side of the screen. Click on the effect thumbnail you want to use. You can turn off background blur at any time during the meeting from the same menu. Keep in mind that when you change your background during a meeting, all changes happen in real-time, and other participants can see the effects as soon as you click on the thumbnail.
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, you won’t have to frantically clean up your messy surroundings every time before a meeting.