After updating Workspace (formerly G Suite) with several new features last year, Google’s previously announced Companion Mode for the Nest Hub Max and other Google Meet hardware has begun rolling out.
Companion Mode is a second-screen experience designed to support the move to hybrid work environments, providing easier access to various Google Meet controls and features for people calling from a shared office.
Previously, workers calling from a meeting room often had to vie for control if they wanted to do simple things like raise their hand (virtually) or leave a comment in chat. The result was that employees who worked remotely and called into meetings using a phone or PC were often more active and visible in meetings than their colleagues in the office who attended using a traditional conference room.
However, thanks to the addition of Companion mode, office workers will soon have access to most Google Meet features via Nest Hub Max or other certified hardware like a Lenovo Tap while still being part of the shared meeting. And while the Nest Hub Max may not be a common sight in conference rooms today, this new mode could help Google bring more devices to businesses of all sizes as they adapt to post-pandemic work arrangements. To join a meeting using Companion Mode, you can enable the setting in the Google Meet “green room” or using a dedicated URL: g.co/companion.
Google Meet features available in Companion mode include chatting, starting and voting in polls, raising your hand (which includes displaying a person’s name and title), using host controls, and turning on captions or translations.
Google says the goal is to ensure that no matter where you are working, everyone on a video call has access to a similar set of tools and resources. Companion mode will be enabled by default, however, for people using the free version of Meet, it’s important to note that anyone using it will count as an additional participant in the 100-person limit, rather than a room full of people counting as a single participant.
The companion mode on Google Meet is rolling out this week, but depending on your domain or user type, it may take a few more weeks for it to be available on your device.
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