Google Meet is the business-oriented version of Google’s social Video conferencing app, Google Hangouts. In the days following the lockdown of numerous cities, Google Meet saw a surge in its user database as companies, educational institutions, and other organizations scrambled to find ways to keep their businesses running.
Google Meet allows users to create Meetings with up to 100 participants, using a Gsuite Basic account.
In an attempt to keep up with the video conferencing app giant Zoom, Google Meet has increased its cap on visible participants from 4 to 16. In a statement on April 17th, Google Vice President Javier Soltero confirmed that the app would now allow users an option to display a grid of up to 16 active participants.
In this article, we will cover the different layouts that can be used with the video conferencing app, as well as how to go about changing them.
Layout options in Google Meet
Google Meet allows users to choose from four different layout styles. By default, Google Meet automatically switches the layout of a meeting to highlight the most active participants or content being shared. However, if users log on through their browsers, they can change this layout to their preference.
Styles of Layout
This is the default style when a meeting is created. Google Meet decides the best layout for the meeting, depending on the content being shared and the participation of attendees.
This layout style is used to highlight either a user/active speaker or the presentation. You can pin a user by hovering your mouse over them, and clicking the pin icon. To unpin, simply click on the pin icon again. Note: In this layout, none of the other participants will be displayed. Only the pinned item will remain on the screen.
The sidebar layout differs from Spotlight in that it also displays the other active speakers on the side of the screen. Sidebar highlights the active speaker or presentation in a large tile in the center of the screen with the remaining active speakers along the right side of the video feed.
When there is no presentation this layout displays up to 16 (earlier 4) equal-sized video feeds of participants. If however there is a presentation, the presentation will take up the window while keeping the most active participants on the side.
How to change the layout in Google Meet
If you are not satisfied with Google Meet automatically changing the layout of your call, you can choose to stick with one layout. Follow the steps below to change the layout of your Google Meet call.
Step 1: Join/Start a video call on Google Meet.
Step 2: Click the More icon (three dots) in the bottom right corner of the screen and then click Change Layout.
Step 3: Choose the Tiled layout to view as many as 16 participants at once.
Can I change the layout again?
Layouts can be changed at any time during the call. It is not necessary to stick with one layout throughout a call.
While Google still falls behind in terms of the number of participants viewable in a call as compared to Zoom, this is a welcome step in the right direction.
In addition, Google Meet will now be integrated into Gmail, meaning that you will be able to make Google Meet calls directly from your mailbox.
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