The Live Captions feature on Google Meet is probably one of the most important tools the video conferencing platform has. It allows users that may have hearing difficulties to still be able to understand what’s going on. Previously, it was only available in English but now they’re adding support for four more languages so those who are used to a different primary language will be able to benefit from it as well. Meet also gets better quick access controls as you can now toggle it on or off on your Google Calendar.
These automated live captions for Google Meet have been around for a year already as it is able to convert audio to text in real-time. But previously, it would only appear if the speaker was talking in English. Now those who speak in French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish (Spain and Latin America) will now be able to get automatic captions as well. Take note of course that this is not a translation feature so the captions will be in the spoken language.
The Live Caption feature benefits those who are deaf or hard of hearing as well as users who have a different primary language. And even regular users who are in a noisy environment can take advantage of this feature. It’s now rolling out to Google Meet web users across all editions but not yet on mobile devices. Meet features for large meetings are also now expanding, including a countdown timer for breakout rooms, attendance reports, etc.
Another Google Workspace update for Google Meet allows you to control Quick access settings from Google Calendar. This setting lets you control if participants can just hop on a Meet call or they’ll need to ask permission first. Previously, you could only access this in the Host controls menu during the meeting. Now you can configure it even before the meeting starts. It is also now “sticky” so it will remember your setting for future, recurring meetings.
Google has of course been pushing hard for Google Meet as they saw the rise of Zoom during this pandemic. They’re playing catchup and adding more bells and whistles along the way, much to the delight (or dismay) of Google users or loyalists.