At Google’s I/O conference this year, the company previewed something called ‘Companion Mode’ for Google Meet. It’s billed as a way to help level out access to collaborative tools in a hybrid work environment. Basically, it was created to connect everyone in a remote team while giving them access to all of the same tools, despite the device they dial in from. In many ways, it’s able to be used as a second screen experience or ‘companion’ to the primary web application for calls.
Companion Mode is designed to seamlessly connect those in the room with their remote teammates, giving everyone advanced features to participate, while leveraging the best of in-room audio and video conferencing capabilities.
With this new mode which will be rolling out in September (coming soon to mobile), Google wants to give every meeting participant access to interactive features like screen sharing, hand raising, Q&A, live captions, in-meeting chat, polls, and more whether they’re on their Chromebook, desktop, phone, or in some cases, even smart displays. Additionally, to help meeting organizers better plan for such hybrid meetings, invitees will soon be able to RSVP with a specific join location in the Calendar event. This means that if someone is joining the meeting room or virtually, event coordinators will have a better understanding of the tally beforehand.
Google is also updating the way in-room experiences work for things like polls and Q&As. It wants to add hand-raising to each and let you receive notifications when one goes live or is updated. Not only that, but the company is looking to add moderation tools for hosts over the next few months so that in-meeting chat and presenting can be disabled when distractions need to be reduced. If a call participant needs to be muted or prevented from muting, hosts will be able to control this in full as well.
There is a webinar coming up on June 28th where you can learn how to improve your own hybrid work environment and make it more productive, powerful, and secure. You’ll have to register at the link above in order to get access, but once it goes live, you’ll be able to ask questions live and get insights from experts. Let me know in the comments if Companion mode sounds useful to you or if you always just join a Meet via your phone or desktop traditionally.