After updating Workspace (formerly G Suite) with a number of new features last year, Google’s previously-announced Companion Mode for the Nest Hub Max and other Google Meet hardware has begun rolling out.
Companion Mode is a second screen experience designed to support the shift towards hybrid working environments by providing easier access to various Google Meet controls and features for people calling in from a shared office.
Previously, workers who called in from a meeting room often had to jockey for control if they wanted to do simple things like raise their hand (virtually) or drop a comment in chat. The result was that employees who worked remotely and called into meetings using a phone or PC were often more active and visible in meetings than their colleagues at the office who participated using a traditional conference room set up.
However, thanks to the addition of Companion Mode, office workers will soon get access to most of Google Meet’s features via Nest Hub Max or other certified hardware like a Lenovo Tap while still being part of the shared meeting. And while the Nest Hub Max might not be a common sight in conference rooms today, this new mode could help Google push more devices to businesses of all sizes as they adapt to post-pandemic working arrangements. To join a meeting using Companion Mode, you can either activate the setting in Google Meet’s “green room” or by using a dedicated URL: g.co/companion.
Google Meet features available in Companion Mode include chatting, starting and voting on polls, raising your hand (which includes displaying a person’s name and title), using host controls and turning on captions or translations.
Google says the goal is to ensure that regardless of where you’re working from, everyone in a video call will have access to a similar set of tools and features. Companion Mode will be enabled by default, though, for people using the free version of Meet, it’s important to note that anyone using it will count as an additional participant towards the 100-person limit, instead of a room full of people counting as a single attendee.
Companion Mode in Google Meet is rolling out this week, though depending on your domain or user type, it may take another few weeks for it to be available on your device.