Google Meet will soon offer blurred backgrounds and other useful tools

Google Meet, the company's alternative to products like Zoom, will soon be updated with some new features that better enable it to take on competitors. Google plans to roll out the features later this year, but has introduced them ahead of that launch, showcasing what educators and other users can expect. Features like hand-raising, blurring, and more are inbound.

Industries around the world found themselves impacted without warning by the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year. Among other things, many schools and businesses had to transition to a remote online-only workflow or classroom in order to carry on without being in the same physical location as other people, reducing the spread of the virus.

Google Meet is one of the video-based applications that enable large teams of people to participate in the same online group. According to the company, it currently has more than 140 million students and teachers using its G Suite for Education product globally, something that works out to more than 1,300 years of collective learning.

Of course, Google has to compete with products like Zoom and Skype, both of which offer some features its own Meet lacks. That will change soon, however, according to a recent announcement from the company. Later this year, Google will introduce some key features that'll be particularly useful for educators, including new moderation tools in both the G Suite Education and Enterprise for Education options.

Users will be restricted from 'knocking' excessively to join a meeting, plus the knocks will be 'less intrusive' overall after this update. As well, Google will roll out background blurring in Meet as part of this update, meaning users will be able to hide their messy bedrooms and offices.

Users will also have the option of replacing their video background with an image or presets, though administrators will be given the option of disabling this feature. Teachers can also expect a new hand-raising feature, offering a more natural experience that helps teachers manage their students.