As a Google Partner, we’re always looking at the latest developments in Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) tools and how they can transform our working lives. This week, Damson Cloud’s very-own Fintan Murphy leads a demo on how to join a Google Meet, as well as tips on how to use 3 new features from Google Workspace Enterprise that have just been made available to allGoogle Workspace users. With a huge uptake in remote working over recent weeks, these added features couldn’t have come at a better time. Check it out, and don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list for more insights!
As lockdown continues around Europe and most of the world, more and more companies are introducing their staff to remote working for the very first time. Doing their bit to keep normal life afloat, Google is helping workers stay connected and productive by offering free access to some advanced and super-handy features. Available until July 1st, these features are usually only available to Enterprise and Enterprise for Education customers, and will come at no extra cost. They include:
– Even larger Google Meet meetings, with up to 250 participants in a single conference call
– Live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within the domain
– Record your meetings and store them on Google Drive
For those many employees currently working from home, these advanced and cost-free features are highly significant. From any connected location, workers can organise and participate in meetings with a huge number of participants. Recording your meetings means that vital training sessions can be recorded and shared with colleagues who may have missed out. Users can even record screen shares and webcam demonstrations, sharing them with their customers.
Meanwhile, live streaming within your domain carries its own range of benefits, allowing larger education and enterprise customers to stream meetings; discussions or broadcasts from CEOs and management staff to employees, students, pupils or trainees.
Kicking off the Demo
Getting started with the demonstration, Fintan begins jumping into a Google Meeting. Sharing his own working screen, you can see on the interface that there are three upcoming meetings. We can join any of these via meet.google.com. If you’re invited to meetings via Google Calendar, they will immediately show up on this interface by default. A quick tip we recommend is to keep this window running in the background so that you can jump into a meeting any time.
Checking and Testing Your Settings
Before we dive into this, give your settings a quick check. You can check the microphone that you’ll be using on the call, and if you’re using an external microphone, we recommend the Jabra device which comes with the Google Meet kit built-in. We use this device ourselves, and we love how many neat features are squeezed into such a small object. The device includes both a speaker and a microphone, and most of the device’s main settings can be adjusted using the buttons.
The alternatives to little speakers like these are headphones or smartphone earphones, which will in most cases come equipped with a microphone. Most of the time, you’ll be wanting to focus on eliminating any echoes or background interference. We recently covered some aspects of video conferencing etiquette in our blog, and it’s certainly worth checking out for some tips on getting these audio settings right before starting your call.
Looking at Fintan’s screen, we can see little drop-down menus for audio settings, including microphones and speakers. We can see that the speaker is working when the 3 bars in the little icon become filled with green – be sure to give this a try yourself. We can also test the speaker settings, with a handy call-test feature producing a brief ringing sound.
Switching over to video settings allows us to access and equip a camera. These settings contain a little window previewing your camera screen. This is a good opportunity to make any adjustments, making sure your face is clearly visible and not at an odd or dimly-lit angle. When it comes to choosing a camera, sometimes it helps to go for an external camera that allows a slightly wider shot – and this is especially useful if there may be a couple of people on one end of a call.
Trying a Test Call
It can be useful to try out your settings using a test call, as shown by Fintan in the demo. Start a new call to see your own camera screen ahead of a call, as well as allowing you to select other features such as Call Me or Dial In. This is definitely worth checking out – especially if you do have poor bandwidth or background interference issues.
Once you’ve started your test call, you can see some new options, including ‘Add Others’ and the ability to copy call information to send onto others. Meanwhile, on the right hand side, the three little dots open a range of settings around screen layout. We usually leave this setting on automatic, but you may wish to change this to sidebar (participants will appear on screens along the sidebar) or tiled (split into separate tiles and perfect for groups of 3-4 participants).
A fantastic feature we recommend trying out is captioning. This is great if there’s multiple people jumping in and out of a call, and it’s also really handy if there are any language barriers. If you’re in an area with low bandwidth, we recommend adjusting to standard definition (360p). This won’t put as much pressure on your internet and should help your call run more smoothly.
Present Your Screen
When it comes to doing remote working right, it’s essential to be aware of Google Meet’s screen presentation options. You can present your entire screen or a window here, and this is really useful if you want to show colleagues what is on your screen – perfect for training and delivering presentations. You can also record these presentations – but always ensure you have sought the consent of all participants in the call. When you do start recording, you’ll hear an audible ‘bing’ to let you know it’s started. You can also mute yourself and turn your camera on and off. Try it yourself.
The last thing we wanted to show you guys is the streaming feature. We’ll start this aspect of the demo by creating a new appointment in our calendar. Try this yourself, then hit ‘more options’. Here you can add the name of your meeting, and a little drop down arrow on the right hand side includes the ability to add live streaming. This is a fantastic feature, both for recording meetings and training sessions, as well as broadcasting live events. There’s so many potential uses for this – especially under the current circumstances.
To turn these features on, enter the Meet settings. You can allow the ability to record or broadcast for your whole organisation, or a subset of your organisation. Make sure that both of these settings are on, and your whole workforce will be enabled.
We hope these tools will help you to work more effectively while at home, and we look forward to showing you more ways to work remotely with Google Workspace!
More About Damson Cloud
That brings us to the end of this week’s video, and we really hope that we’ve been helping some of you adjust to remote working life with our recent series, including video conferencing etiquette, how to create a productive remote working team and a brief guide to remote working. It’s always important to remember that this stuff isn’t just for businesses: the features we covered today are just as useful for staying connected with friends and family.
We’re all isolated at the minute, and video offers the best way to stay connected. If there’s anything you’d like us to cover – particularly around remote working – let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to like, subscribe and share!
As a longstanding member of the Google Cloud Partner program, Damson Cloud specialise in bringing people and ideas together through new ways of working. We champion change management and digital transformation using some of the internet’s most trusted solutions, including Google Workspace, Happeo and Jamboard. To find out more about our services, check out our library of tutorial videos or our blog.