What’s New With Google Meet? – Oct 2020 Edition

Posted bytfgnetworks_nuk3tc Posted onFebruary 23, 2023 Comments0


Google has rolled out several key updates for the Google Meet collaboration tool. This article addresses these updates, indicates who is affected by them, and provides information on how to use these new features. While this article contains the latest updates from Google Meet as of October 2020, new tools and additional features are continually being released. We advise you to subscribe to the Google Meet Updates Blog for the latest information. 




New and Updated Google Meet features in September and October 2020 include the following: 

Expansion of the number of participants one can see in a meeting

– Who can use this feature? Everyone!

Starting in September 2020, Google Meet users can view up to 49 other participant’s videos at a time in “tiled” view. To learn how to set this, please refer to our How to set Layout in a Google Meet article. 

Expanded Host Controls

– Who can use this feature? Meeting Organizers! 

If you are the host/owner of a Google Meeting, when you enter it, you will see a new icon at the lower left side. 

Click the “Shield lock” to expand more options on who can join your meeting, and once they are in, what they can do. For example, you can prevent others from sharing their screen or using the chat box.  

From here, click on the cog/wheel icon to expand all host settings, providing additional information on these features and more: 

Google has made blog posts detailing use of these features, including how Meeting Organizers can manage who can join their meetings, as well as how Meeting Organizers can manage who can present their screen in meetings. Click the links to access these articles. 

Whiteboard (Jamboard) Incorporation

– Who can use this feature? Everyone! Both Meeting Organizers and participants can present a whiteboard, but the organizer can restrict this using the “who is allowed to present” setting. If presentations are restricted, then participants will still be able to view and collaborate on the organizer’s whiteboard.

If you expand the 3-dot icon at the lower right side of the meeting, at the top of the menu, you’ll see a new feature for “Whiteboard (Open a Jam)”. 

This allows you to create a new shared Jamboard with participants in your meeting, or load in a Jamboard you have already created, to share with your meeting. 

This collaborative tool allows you to add in images/stamps, annotate, and highlight areas of the page during and even beyond your Google Meet session; you can control access to who can contribute, and share the Jamboard with others who are not in your meeting. The Jamboard will be added as an attachment to the meeting, and a link will be sent to meeting participants to access it. 

Google has published a blog post with further details and more information about the addition of Jamboards to Meet, and how this can be used in meetings. 

More information on using Jamboards as a whiteboard for Google Meet can be found here. 

Breakout Rooms

– Who can use this feature? Meeting Organizers! Breakout rooms allow Meeting Organizers to split participants into simultaneous small group discussions.

Meeting Organizers can set and manage breakout rooms in a Google Meet once within the meeting session. After joining the meeting, at the upper right, click on the “activities” icon. 

From here, click on “Breakout rooms”. 

Once you have activated breakout rooms, you can determine how many rooms are to be created, and who will be added to each one. 

Over the next few months, Google will add new features like a timer and an “ask for help” option for participants to get the organizer’s attention.

More information on breakout rooms in Google Meet can be found here. 

Attendance Report

– Who can use this feature? Meeting Organizers!

The organizer(s) of a Google meeting with at least 5 participants will now get an email with the record of who has attended in the meeting following the meeting, containing the following information: 

  • The name of each attendee and their email address
  • The time they joined the meeting
  • The amount of time they spent in a meeting
  • The time they exited the meeting

More information on attendance reports can be found in Google’s Blog entry.

Polling and Q&A

– Who can use this feature? Meeting Organizers!

Polling allows Meeting Organizers to periodically check in to survey participants, and make sure participants understand the discussion. It allows for instant feedback.


Meeting Organizers can set and manage polling in a Google Meet once within the meeting session. After joining the meeting, at the upper right, click on the “activities” icon. 

From here, click on “Polls”. 

When you do this, you will see the option to start a poll: 

Polls can consist a question or statement, and two or more text-based answer choices that can be selected by participants. Meeting Organizers can create polls in advance and click “Save” to use later on in the meeting. When you want your poll to be visible to participants, click “Launch”. 

After launching a poll, participants will get a popup notification on their screen that a poll has been created, or can access your poll from the same “activities” menu as before. As a Meeting Organizer, when you are ready to end your poll, click “End the poll” – you can decide whether or not the results are visible to participants. 

In the below example, what the Meeting Organizer sees is on the left, and what the participant sees is on the right. 

Organizers can create as many polls as they like throughout the meeting! Once the meeting ends, Organizers will be emailed the results of polls, including who has voted.

The new Q&A feature allows participants to ask questions without disrupting the flow of the lesson or discussion. Participants can post their questions to a queue and other participants can upvote questions so the Meeting Organizer knows which to answer first. For better control, Meeting Organizers can hide any questions and can enable or disable question submission at any time.


Meeting Organizers can set and manage Q&A in a Google Meet once within the meeting session. After joining the meeting, at the upper right, click on the “activities” icon. 

From here, click on “Q&A”.

When you do this, you will see the option to enable Q&A: 

As a Meeting Organizer, when you turn on Q&A, meeting participants will see a message saying that Q&A has been enabled. 

When this is enabled, participants (and the Meeting Organizer) can add questions. Questions can contain up to 300 characters each. 

Once questions are asked, the Meeting Organizer and the participants are able to see them. Participants can “upvote” questions that they like, and rescind questions they have submitted. The Meeting Organizer can also upvote, as well as mark questions answered, hide questions, or delete questions. Questions can also be sorted and filtered in many ways. 

The Meeting Organizer can choose to close Q&A at any time – this will display a message to all indicating Q&A has been closed. Q/A can be opened and closed multiple times within a meeting. 

Following the meeting, the Meeting Organizer will get an email containing the Q&A information from that meeting:

This contains a Google Sheet report on which questions were asked, when, by whom, and more details: ,

Google has published a blog post with more information about the features within Polling and Q&A. Also, check out some tips on how to use Q&A and Polls for classes here

Background Blurring and Virtual Backgrounds

– Who can use this feature? Everyone!

Participants and organizers can now customize their own backgrounds in Google Meet, or choose to add blur to their original backgrounds. To do this, click on the 3-dot icon in the bottom menu, and then select “Apply Visual Effects”: 

From here, you will see the option to blur your current background, or choose a virtual background. You can change this at any time, and all other participants in the video will see this new background reflected from you instantly. 

For more information on Virtual Backgrounds, please see Google’s Support Article.


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