This is a mystery to us why, but major software operations like Google and Microsoft like to change product names and combine or unite various solutions into new ones all the time.
Therefore, to clarify from the start, Google Meet (or Google Hangouts Meet) contains technology that is very similar to Hangouts, with some business-friendly differences.
It seems that Google intends to finally change Hangouts and transition to the Meet and Chat combination, but currently available. If you use Hangouts for video conferencing and have a G-Suite enabled account, then you might want to get ahead of that curve and understand Google Meet now, with our practical guidance.
1. Open Meet
To start a session with Google Meet, in your browser, just open this page: https://meet.google.com/. And, if you have a Google account, you can log in and access the Meet interface.
The full version of Meet is only available for those who have a G-Suite account. Although anyone who has a Google account can join the Meeting, they cannot hold it. Meet is also included by default in the Google Chrome application panel if you have G-Suite.
For those who use a mobile device and not a computer, the application is available for Android and iOS phones and tablets, and we will also discuss how to use it in the next step.
But first, let’s start this meeting.
2. Start or join a Meet
After launching Meet, you will be given a clickable panel that has the option to ‘Join or start a meeting’. In the same section of the screen, it will also display any meetings that were previously scheduled on Google Calendar.
To join a meeting, you must know the name of the meeting, and in our example, we have created a meeting called Tech Radar Pro, and clicked ‘continue’ to join.
3. Be a Presenter
If the meeting we are trying to join does not exist or we are the only person, Meet will assume that we want to create a new meeting, and also provide an option to ‘attend’.
As a presenter, you can distribute your desktop computer to other participants. It’s important to realize that anyone can attend. This is not an exclusive feature of the person who made the meeting or got there first.
4. Control Camera and Sound
When a meeting is made, your system is immediately checked for conference functions, including audio input and output and video links. By default the sound and video are dead, but just clicking the icon at the bottom of the screen panel will activate and deactivate this feature.
One small oddity that makes people a little surprised is that if you have an active video of yourself, the video seems to be mirrored. That’s because it shows you as if you are looking in the mirror, but the video receiver will see you as you would if they were not mirrored.
5. Add people
Meetings aren’t very fun without the others, so after the meeting starts, you can add people to it who haven’t been invited.
There are many ways to do this, but the typical way for most businesses is to send email or chat messages with links to meetings.
Meet creates a link for you to copy and use as desired, or can email anyone with that link if you provide an email address.
As a last resort, a telephone number is also provided. This must be the number for the country where the G-Suite account is registered, but not all regions are available. Using this number, anyone can enter the meeting with a fair and audio connection, even though they will not be able to see participants’ visual or video presentations.
As a shortcut to add people, all who are part of the G-Suite account are registered and can be clicked to add. You can also call these users directly from the application if you want to make sure they are available.
6. Show a Desktop presentation
As a Meet presenter, you can be seen directly by participants or see the contents of your computer.
The controls for this are on the lower right of the panel, and you can choose whether the entire screen or only the application window can be seen. This is a very useful facility for PowerPoint presentations, or if you want to use Meet for software training.
Needless to say, there are limits to what you can present from the desktop, because capturing and compressing images that change quickly cannot expect to compensate for video games or 4K video playback.
Meet is not designed to handle problems like that.
7. Mute attendees
We have all used conference tools where one participant has audio feedback or someone with an electric appliance nearby. How do you deal with it?
If you click on anyone in the list of people present, their audio can be muted or stopped streaming video. Other people can still hear and see them, but you can control what you hear and see from them.
For the sake of others and the smooth running of the meeting, it is always good practice to check that your camera and microphone are functioning properly before joining the meeting and that the audio level is not excessive.
In addition to the video and audio section of Meet, there is also a messaging solution built. Chat allows you to type information into other participants, as well as words that you might enter a web location or attached file.
Where this is a better solution than using other chat tools, is that you can easily send messages to all present without having to choose them individually.
9. Using Mobile Meet app
It might confuse many people, but Google chose to call the Android version of Meet called Hangout Meet, combining two similar product names.
Hangout Meet is the mobile version of Google Meet, and allows mobile or tablet users to access meetings in the same way as the Chrome interface.
What you can’t do is host a meeting, but you can join the ongoing event. You will be asked for a code, and the code is the same as registered after meet.google.com/ in the meet link.
After you have connected once, if you disconnect the phone due to a poor cellular connection, the code will still be useful so you can get back up quickly. The mobile application shows the same list of participants as the web application, and also allows the phone to ‘present’ if you want to show others an application or data.
10. Another way to Meet
Meetings are often held beforehand, to enable those involved to allocate time and delete their schedules accordingly. One way to do this with Meet is to organize events using Google Calendar.
If you use Google Calendar and create an event at a point in the future, after you add one person to the event, Hangouts Meetings will automatically be created and shared with those invited.
This feature can be very useful if you have set up a shared Calendar through Google, but will also help those from outside the company.
The future of Google Meet
At present, Google Hangouts serves some of the same functions as Meet for general Google users, but it has been widely reported that Hangouts will be terminated in the near future.
The reality is that Hangouts is being given a new name as Google Meet for all Google customers, and users will also share to use Google Chat next to it.
Therefore, if you have G-Suite it is time to get acquainted with Meet, and for those who use hangouts, expect some changes soon.