Video conferencing platforms have spiked in the past months thanks to remote work and school arrangements. Along with video streaming, that has also seen Internet use spike in that same period as well. That, in turn, sets of a chain of events that may eventually lead to drained smartphones and bill shock. In order to deliver a service that can work under any circumstance or data plan, Google is updating Meet’s mobile apps to include a data saver mode that, amusingly, does more than just limit data usage.
Google is no stranger to such data saver modes as it was one of the things that set Chrome on Android apart back in the days. The basic idea, no matter the incarnation, is the same, though. An app or service will opt to use more bandwidth-friendly resources that sacrifice the experience a bit in exchange for less data use.
That’s something that Meet and its cousin Duo actually do already automatically, though not to a large extent. These video chat services can detect a user’s device and network condition in order to automatically adjust the settings to deliver the best experience possible within those constraints. This could, for example, mean lower resolution video or offloading some processing on the remote server instead of the device.
What Google Meet’s new Limit Data Usage offers is a more explicit setting for users to turn on or off at will. Curiously, its effects don’t only apply to actual data use only. Google says that this mode also conserves battery power and takes a load off the phone’s CPU, probably by letting the remote servers do most of the work.
This feature is only available on Google Meet’s mobile apps on Android and iOS, but only Google Workspace and G Suite customers. The feature is turned off by default and Google recommends disabling it to use Meet in higher quality.