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Google Meet rolls out 360-degree virtual backgrounds for video calls

Google Meet rolls out 360-degree virtual backgrounds for video calls


Meet’s new dynamic backgrounds change as you move your phone or tablet, making it look like you’re actually calling from outside the office.

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An illustration of the Google logo.
Illustration: The Verge

Google Meet’s launching new 360-degree virtual backgrounds for video calls on mobile. While Google first announced the new feature last month, now it’s rolling out on both iOS and Android and uses your device’s gyroscope to move with you.

As you can see in the embedded GIF, the 360-degree background will change depending on where your phone or tablet’s positioned. So, if you move your phone left or right, your background will adjust to show different scenery. Google says users can apply “several” new 360-degree backgrounds during video calls, including one that shows a beach and another with a temple.

Image: Google

While the feature does look pretty cool, I can see how these backgrounds might get distracting if you’re on a call with someone who’s constantly moving their phone around. However, they’re still probably not as obnoxious as Meet’s collection of Snapchat-like filters — which currently includes one that turns you into a cat and another that puts your face on a strawberry.

Last month, Google started rolling out emoji reactions for Meet, including the heart, thumbs-up, party popper, clap, joy, astonished, thinking, cry, and thumbs-down emoji, but it still has a long way to go if it wants to catch up with Zoom’s complete library of reactions. Google’s also in the process of gradually transitioning users to the new Meet app that combines the features of Duo, and sent out its final warnings last month as it prepares to switch users over.