The 2 best ways to use the virtual background in Google Meet

The use of video calls is increasing. Almost every business and organization in the world is switching to video calling tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet to host digital meetings and conferences. Google Meet is the newcomer, and the search giant recently made Google Meet free for everyone. Although you don’t need to download and install an application on your computer, you can use virtual backgrounds to make your environment appear a little different from the rest of the attendees.

The 2 best ways to use the virtual background in Google Meet

While keeping things simple, Google Meet doesn’t have several video calling features like screen recording, background blur, virtual background, whiteboard, etc. To compensate for some of them, you can use the Google Meet Chrome extensions.

Using virtual backgrounds in meetings can be a serious distinguishing factor that can represent your personality differently. I don’t prefer participants to sneak in and note random things in my background during video calls. Google has promised to blur the background soon. In the meantime, if you want to use virtual backgrounds, there are a few solutions.

In this article, we will guide you on the two best ways to use a virtual background in Google Meets. Let’s start.

Use virtual backgrounds for the Google Meet extension

As I mentioned earlier, you can use extensions from the Chrome online store to enhance the Google Meet experience. To add virtual backgrounds when calling Google Meet, we will use the Virtual Background extension. Follow the steps below to activate the feature in Google Meet.

Step 1: Go to the Chrome Web Store and search for Virtual Background in the search bar.

2nd step: You will find the virtual background of Google Meet at the top. Download and install the extension on the Google Chrome browser. (You can also use this extension or any extension from the Chrome Web Store to other Chromium-based browsers such as Microsoft Edge, Opera, Brave, etc.).

Virtual context

The 2 best ways to use the virtual background in Google Meet

Step 3: Once the installation is successful, go to Google Meet on the web to create meetings.

Step 4: Tap start meeting and select Join Now to start the video preview.

Step 5: Tap the virtual background extension above and activate the extension.

Virtual background extension

The 2 best ways to use the virtual background in Google Meet

The extension will offer a bunch of ready-to-use backgrounds to use during meetings. Tap the one you’re interested in and you’ll see a live virtual background during Google Meet meetings.

Google meets the video background

The 2 best ways to use the virtual background in Google Meet

The experience is far from perfect – check the screenshot above. If you move your face a lot, you will notice that the video background distorts your video viewing during a meeting.

Use the instant camera

Snap Camera is a free desktop application that brings the fun of lenses to your computer. You can use it without a Snapchat account or login. Snap Camera works as an add-on for all video calling applications. Follow the steps below to use Snap Camera to change the background in Google Meet.

Step 1: Go to the Snap Camera website and download the application for PC or Mac.

2nd step: Once the installation is successful, open the Snap Camera app.

Step 3: You’ll see hundreds of lenses made by community members with a live preview.

Step 4: Select and apply the target you prefer. Use the live preview mode to view the result.

Snap camrea in action

The 2 best ways to use the virtual background in Google Meet

Step 5: Close the Snap Camera app. Do not worry. The app is still running in the background.

Step 6: Open a web browser and go to Google Meet.

Step 7: You must change the Google Meet settings to use Snap Camera as the default video camera on the service. Tap the Settings icon in the upper right corner.

Switch to instant camera

The 2 best ways to use the virtual background in Google Meet

Step 8: Go to the Video tab and select Capture Camera from the camera menu.

From now on, every time you launch the video call on Google Meet, it switches to the Snap camera as the default video stream and uses the selected lens to change the background.

Google meets snap camrea

The 2 best ways to use the virtual background in Google Meet

You always return to the Instant Camera app and select a different lens to change the style and background.

Pro tip: Like how you changed the default video camera on Google Meet to use Snap Camera, users can apply the same trick to Zoom and Microsoft teams to apply Snapchat lenses.

Share the screen in Google Meet

Google Meet lets you share screens with attendees. It is essential to present the current screen and discuss the subject in detail. Before starting a meeting, you can press the Present Now button in the lower right corner and select one of two options: share the entire screen or the application window.

Current screen

The 2 best ways to use the virtual background in Google Meet

Your entire screen option will share the current screen to participants. A window option will allow you to choose from the windows currently open from the PC or Mac. Google Meet screen sharing does not have many features compared to Microsoft Teams and Zoom. For example, there is no whiteboard function. In addition, you cannot scribble on the display when sharing screens. I would like to see the integration of Google Drive to share files from the cloud service.

Sharing screen

The 2 best ways to use the virtual background in Google Meet

Hide your background in Google Meet

Google Meet gets the basics. But at the same time, there are some interesting features missing such as virtual background, blurred background, whiteboard, etc. As for the virtual background, you can use the Chrome extension or Snap Camera to add style during video calls. For the rest, we will have to wait for future updates.

Then:

Confused between Google Hangouts and Meet? Read the comparison post below to find the difference between two video calling apps.

Last updated May 30, 2020

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