Emoji reactions will be available for Meet hardware devices, Google Meet on the web, Android, and iOS.

Google Meet has now introduced a 360-degree background and in-call emoji reactions. This tool has just become available to users, despite the search giant’s first announcement last year. You can now silently respond to colleagues during calls using the video conferencing platform.

Emoji responses, according to Google, will provide a simple, unobtrusive method to contribute and engage in meetings without interrupting the speaker.

The new “smile” symbol in the meeting controls will take you to the emoji reaction option. Users will also have the option of selecting the skin tone that most closely matches their own. Additionally, this selection will be saved on their profile.

Currently, there are only nine emoji choices, including a thumbs down, thumbs up, a glowing heart, a party popper, a smiling face, a waving hand, and an astonished, thinking, and crying face.

Users can choose emoji reactions to send, which will then be displayed on the user’s window and open to everyone else in the meeting. If several users send emojis simultaneously, they appear on the left side, looking like a burst.

While the reply feature is enabled by default, the meeting host can disable it for a specific call.

The upgrade will be available to users with Google Workspace accounts on January 16, with a full rollout lasting up to three days. On January 23, it will be available for Google Workspace accounts on the Scheduled Release track, and the full rollout might take a few days.

Upcoming Chat Updates

Along with emoji replies for Meet calls, Google is also releasing a Workspace update for chats that allows users to start an individual or group conversation instantly. In previous versions of Chat, when users began typing names, it would prompt them to “Start group conversation.”

Google hasn’t provided a specific release date for Google Meet on Android, which is still in the process and has a “coming soon” tag.

Google is currently deleting that option entirely. Instead, users can create a group chat by simply typing and selecting multiple names.

The announcement is the most recent in a series of changes to Google Meet as the company works to improve user engagement across the platform.

Recently, it launched three somewhat troubling video filters to give users more individuality by allowing them to portray themselves as a bunny in an office cubicle, a log, or a strawberry with a head.

The Upcoming 360-Degree Background

As another intriguing feature, Google intends to add a dynamic 360-degree background to the Meet app. Using information from the phone’s orientation and gyroscope; the background will move along with the camera as you move the phone.

Beginning with a beach, the backgrounds feature mountains, temples, an oasis, and a sky city. In the future, the service intends to add more backgrounds.

The new backgrounds will be accessible to both paid and free Android and iOS users in the coming weeks.

Google will also encourage customers to switch to the Duo-integrated Meet app, which it refers to as the one solution for both meetings and video calling, rather than the Duo placeholder or the original Meet app.

The final notices will be sent on January 17, and Google will begin transferring users to the updated Meet app “in the coming months.”

Additionally, Google Meet will soon introduce a new function called Translated Caption for some Workspace editions, allowing users to translate spoken English.

It can be translated into German, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. Other languages, including Swedish, Japanese, and Mandarin, are also accessible but only compatible with Android and desktops.