Google Meet on web finally gets custom virtual background support

Google Meet, the company's video chatting software for quickly launching remote meetings or group calls, has finally received support for virtual backgrounds...if you're using a web browser, at least. Google Meet users on mobile will need to wait a bit longer to get the same support, but the change is welcome regardless, giving users an arguably session feature already available on many competing platforms.

If you've found yourself working from home this year, there's a decent chance you lack a proper home office, which means that your coworkers are liable to see the cramped corner you've stuffed yourself into — or perhaps your bed in the distance, the kitchen cabinets, or your kid's messy toys scattered across the floor.

To help solve that, Google Meet has already offered an AI-powered background blurring effect, which blurs the background so that others can't see it. It's arguably better to be surrounded by an actual image, however, than by an ambiguous, amorphous blur, and that's where virtual backgrounds come in.

As the name suggests, virtual backgrounds are images that the software applies to the video around the user, hiding their real-life background and replacing it with something perhaps easier on the eyes. Google is including a curated selection of virtual backgrounds for users to select, including landscapes, office backgrounds, abstract images, and similar.

Users will also have the option of uploading and using their own images, though, meaning you can use one of the fun images that have been released for remote workers this year. There are, for example, the Star Wars-themed backgrounds for fans who want to look like they're working from the Death Star.

According to a new blog post from Google, its Meet platform now supports virtual backgrounds on web. If you're a Google Meet user on iOS or Android, you'll get access to this support 'soon,' though a more precise time frame wasn't provided.