Google Meet is officially getting blur and backgrounds, closes gap on Zoom and Teams

Google Meet
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Probably one of the most frequently requested features for regular users of Google Meet (opens in new tab), the company's popular video conferencing software (opens in new tab), is the ability to blur out call backgrounds (opens in new tab) and add in custom versions.

Microsoft Teams (opens in new tab) and Zoom (opens in new tab) already offer this feature, and we can now confirm Google is planning to introduce it soon on both mobile and desktop.

Tucked away in a document that sets out upcoming G Suite (opens in new tab) releases are the following two entries: “Background blur and replace (for mobile)” and “Background blur and replace (for desktop)”. The feature is described as the ability to "blur the background or replace it with an image or video on desktop.”

However, it's worth noting the document is subject to a few caveats. New items are added roughly every three months and newly introduced features are removed, and the list of releases is not an official commitment and is subject to change without notice. Finally, the listed releases are not “guaranteed to become generally available and may be modified from their current form”.

Other features are likely to be rolled out at the same time, as Meet takes over from its predecessor Hangouts for good. Also in the same development bucket are meeting moderation controls, the ability to dial out to an international phone number from a Meet video call, cloud-based noise cancellation, breakout rooms and the integration of Google’s digital whiteboard.

Google Meet is simple to use (opens in new tab) and offers a growing list of features for millions of workers that have had to adjust their working patterns as a result of the pandemic. The service was previously paid for but became free (opens in new tab) in May, with the company also announcing tighter Gmail integration (opens in new tab)

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.