Per the following announcement, Google has added some features to our account for a limited time:
The added features mentioned in the above article include:
- They increased of the maximum number of participants from 100 to 250.
- They added the ability to record meetings. To start a recording, the organizer should just click the three-dot menu and select "Record meeting". When the meeting is complete, the MP4 video will be placed in the organizer's Google Drive in a folder named "Meet Recordings." Additional information about how the recording process works is available in Google's Record a video meeting article.
Google Meet allows you to have a video and/or audio conference call with multiple participants in various locations. Participants do not have to have a Gmail account; they don't even need a computer. Google's help articles contain a lot of info about how Meet works. Here are a few good ones:
What follows is some information about how to create such an event, how to invite your participants, and how to participate.
Google Meet was previously called Google Hangouts Meet. And before that, much of the functionality was also available in Google Hangouts. You may still see an occasional reference to these old names.
Create A Meet Event
When you create an event on your calendar and invite others, the "Meet" function (including the phone call-in) is automatically turned on. You don't have to do anything else; just create the event and invite others.
IMPORTANT: If you do not intend to use Meet or allow people to participate in your event remotely, be sure to turn this off. If you leave it on, this can confuse attendees who join the Meet when no one's there.
As the host of the event, you should decide how you want people to participate. When you click on the event in your calendar, you'll see some important info:
If all of your attendees have a Gmail account, just invite them to the event in your calendar. Then when they click the event in their calendar, they'll see the above options like you do. Most such users will just click "Join Hangouts Meet" to attend using their computer or smartphone.
People can also participate without a Gmail account. You can email them the URL shown and/or the telephone number. Here's how that works:
- When the outside user clicks on the URL (i.e. meet.google.com/abc-def-ghi), you as the organizer will see a message asking if it's okay for them to join (they may have been prompted to enter their name). This prevents uninvited people from attending.
NOTE: If someone else has access to your calendar, and they schedule the meeting for you on your calendar, then you're still the organizer, and you're the one who has to allow an outside user to join.
- When a user calls the telephone number (via any telephone), they will be prompted to enter the PIN.
So, you can have a single "meeting" with people using the various methods to participate.
Instructions for Participants
If you feel a need to share information with your participants about how to join a Meet, Google has this article which explains the various ways to join:
How Many Participants?
Our account with Google is "G Suite for Education", which allows for up to 100 participants.
Google has these related articles:
- Requirements for using Google Meet (see the "participant limits" section)
- Compare Meet with classic Hangouts (table includes participant limits)
- Set up Meet to help your team work remotely (mentions temporary COVID-19 increase)
If you'd like to see thumbnails of the participants in a grid view, Google Meet does this for up to 16 participants. If a Meet is larger than that and you still want to see the participants in a grid view, install this Chrome extension:
- Google Meet Grid View, by Chris Gamble
When you add this to Chrome, you'll then have the option (upper right corner of your screen) to turn it on or off during each Meet. Please keep in mind these caveats:
- This extension only works in Chrome. If you visit the developer's web page, he has links for this extension in other browsers.
- This extension offers a number of additional features which are always changing. See the developer's web page or the extension itself for information about these features.
- Since this extension is not an official Google product, it may occasionally conflict with certain features of Meet (i.e. a participant sharing their screen). If you experience any such conflicts, just turn off grid view.
Note: There are several similarly named extensions by other authors that provide this grid functionality. If you are using one from a different author, we recommend that you uninstall that extension and install this one via the link above. Once installed, when you hover over the grid view icon, you'll see the version number in the lower left corner. Here's a screenshot taken in May 2020:
Note that the version number shown is something like "v1.33.0". Yours may be a little different, but if it's similar, then you have the right extension. If your version number starts with a year, then that's not this extension.
You'll notice an option in the Meet window labeled "Turn on Captions". This feature works as you might expect, and it's automatically available in all Meets (the organizer does not need to enable it or turn it on). When turned on by a participant, an extra row appears at the bottom of their screen only. As other participants talk, their name appears in that extra row along with their words. This can be very helpful for participants who may not be able to hear well.
1) We strongly recommend that you test this to see how it works with your computer or mobile device before you actually need to use Meet for a real meeting. Just create a test event and invite a coworker or student. Then both of you can follow the steps above to participate. Once you've gone through it yourself on your computer or smartphone, you'll be much more comfortable when you participate in a real event.
2) Managing the sound on video calls can be a challenge, depending on how your device is setup. Incorrect placement of your microphone and speaker can cause feedback and/or buzzing for the other participants.
This problem does not usually happen when using the built-in microphone and speaker on your laptop or smartphone. But if you have external speakers, it's possible that when someone else is talking, the sound coming from your speakers goes right back into your microphone, causing the other participants to hear an echo. If several people in your Meet have this problem, it can be annoying.
There are two good solutions for this:
- The best overall solution is to use a headset with a microphone. This way, the sound will goes directly into your ears, unable to loop back through the microphone.
- It's always a good practice to mute your microphone when you're not speaking. This is especially appropriate if you're listening to a lecture where someone else is doing most of the speaking.
3) Prepare the video so that you're aware of your what your camera sees. Start a Meet on your own with no other participants. This way you can see exactly what your camera sees before you join a real Meet with others.
- Check and adjust the room lighting.
- Make sure your backdrop is appropriate. Consider removing clutter.
- Dress appropriately, comb your hair, brush your teeth; you know, all the stuff you'd normally do if you were meeting in person.
- A local photographer suggests that it's much more pleasing to the viewer's eye to place your face in the upper third of the screen.
4) If you need to share a window or your entire screen with the other participants, take a few seconds to prepare that window or screen before you share it. Remove unneeded tabs or programs. Close the window where you're logged into your personal bank account. This lessens the possibility of people seeing things they don't need to see.