If you’ve adopted Google Meet as your standard web conferencing tool, you may have encountered a few challenges. In this blog entry, we’ll explore a few Google Chrome extensions that can improve your Meet experience.
Did You Know?
Sign up for one of our Google Certified Educator certifications. You’ll learn about more than Google Meet, as well as earn 12 CPE hours per course. Use these courses to get Google Educator certified. Find out more online.
Adding Chrome Extensions
To add Chrome extensions, first open up your Chrome browser. Then click on the links shared below. These links will take you to Google’s App store where you can add the Chrome extension to your browser. All these extensions will work on any Chrome/Chromium-based browser.
Photo Credit: PC World, Brave 1.0 Review
Some of those browsers you may be familiar with:
- Google Chrome: Google’s flagship browser
- Chromium. A browser available for GNU/Linux operating systems.
- Microsoft Edge (Chromium-based). Microsoft’s adaptation of the Chromium browser
- Brave (Chromium-based). A privacy-friendly browser that works great and fast. A nice alternative is Vivaldi.
- Mozilla Firefox (Chromium-based)
Here are the links to the browser of your choice. My preference? Brave or Vivaldi. Both offer additional security and cross-device sharing of web pages. If you are on a managed device (e.g. Chromebook), then you are stuck with Google Chrome. No matter what your browser, here are some ways to enhance Google Meets.
Google Meet Chrome Extensions
Now that you’ve installed your favorite browser, it’s time to try out Google Chrome extensions. Several districts have chosen to push these out to all managed devices. In doing so, they enhance the Google Meet experience.
Here are the extensions you can add now:
- Google Meet Enhancement Suite – This is a Chrome extension that adds more to the Meet experience. The main features include:
- Grid Layout: see everyone in your Google Meet in one view, highlight speakers, and set it as your default layout
- Push to Talk: quickly mute and unmute yourself with the press of a key
- Auto Join: skip the join screen and get straight to the meeting
- Smart Defaults: automatically turn on captions, mute your mic, or turn your video off
See some of the enhancement kit option in the image shown right.
A few more must-have add-ons for Google Meet:
- Google Meet Plus – An amazing tool that is a must-have for any teacher. You can drop links, famous quotes, use a whiteboard that tracks who did what.
- Nod – Quick emoji reactions for muted team members. Nod allows team members to send real-time reactions to presenters and speakers during meetings on Google Meet. You can change Meet to show your full name as well as first name when sending reactions
- Google Meet Push to Talk – Hold the space bar in Google Meet to talk instead of fumbling around trying to mute and unmute.
- Google Meet Grid View – Show Meet attendees in a grid view
- Grid View for Hangouts & Meets – From their website, “See everyone in your Google Meet or Google Hangouts Call at once – it’s the grid view/Brady bunch view you’ve been asking for! This extension enables the grid view/Brady bunch functionality for both Hangouts and Meet with a single extension for convenience.”
- Meet Attendance – Collect attendance in a Google Sheet from a Google Meet automatically
- Virtual Backgrounds for Google Meet – Check out this Chrome extension that provides you with virtual backgrounds for Google Meet.
New Features Announced
April, 2020 has seen the announcement of many new Meet features. For example, Google expanded access to Premium Meet features at no cost. G Suite EDU users have access until September 30, 2020. G Suite EDU administrators need to turn on Meet for their domain (Watch Video), as shown below:
This means you can have meetings for up to 250 participants per call. You can have live streams for up to 100,000 viewers within your domain. Last, you can record meetings and save them to Google Drive.
Some other big announcements include the following:
- G Suite EDU administrators may give meeting creation privileges to individuals, groups, or organizational units (OUs).
- Google Classroom and Meet integration
- Participants to a Meet must now request and be given approval to join a meeting
- Meeting control feature that prevents participants from rejoining. For nicknamed meetings, this prevents students from rejoining after the last participant (usually the instructor) has left. Once the teacher restarts the nicknamed meeting, students can join again.
- Meeting creators and calendar owners can mute or remove other participants.
- Meeting creators and calendar owners can allow others from outside the district to join.
- Numerous security protocols have been put in place.
Other Meet experience enhancements include:
- Tiled layout for larger calls: See up to sixteen participants at once, up from four.
- Present higher-quality video content with audio: Need to share a Chrome tab with audio/video? Share one tab functionality available. You can continue to share your screen.
- Low-light mode: Google Meet optimizes your video to make you more visible in less than optimal lighting.
- Noise cancellation: Meet will filter out background distractions.
Want to explore Google Meet in more detail? A learning opportunity known as Teach From Home is now available from Google. There are many topics you can review. Most include an illustrated tutorial and/or video.
Tips for Google Meet Teachers
Are you a teacher relying on this tool? Here are a few more tips for ensuring you have control of a Google Meet:
- Turn on Meet only when you are ready to enter and be the first person in Google Meet. This is important because it gives you ownership of the Meet
- Assign a nickname to your Meet. When you open the Meet via Calendar, it provides you with the option to create a nickname or identification code. That code is then associated to the web address or uniform resource locator (URL) that is created.
- Switch off the Admin Console option that grants students the power to start a Meet
- Make sure you are the last one to leave the classroom. If you must, expedite the exit of any students lingering behind.
Some teachers like using breakout rooms. Zoom and Microsoft Teams have them, but Google Meet, as of April 2020, does not. What do you do if you want breakout rooms? You get creative like Clay. Follow Clay’s tutorial to add this feature.
Recording a Virtual Meeting
First person in and last person out of a Meet? You will find a recording of a the meeting in your Google Drive. But there are other recording options you can take advantage of. (Please remember the law and ethics when recording these meetings.) Several tools can assist you in this. For example, use OBS Project (or one of many tools) to record a Google Meet. You can get a transcription of everything spoken in Google Meet.
- Adds a button to Google Calendar & Google Meet and enables you to easily transcribe calls.
- Record your meetings, transcribe, search, and share with one simple click
- Fireflies Chrome extension adds a button on your Google Calendar so you can invite the AI assistant Fred to your scheduled meetings.
As the web conferencing tools get easier to use, you can focus your attention where it matters most, your learners.