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How to blur the background in Google Meet

Google has three online meeting tools; Duo, Hangouts, and Meet. With the ongoing pandemic and the sharp increase in the use of online meeting tools, Google has chosen to push Google Meet to users looking for a new and reliable solution for online audio/video calls.

Up until this pandemic, online audio/video calling services were passively competing with each other. The rise in demand for these services has led most, if not all, of them to add new features. Google Meet is no different though it has been lagging behind other tools. 

You can now blur the background automatically in Google Meet.

  1. Start a new Google Meet meeting (you can start one from Gmail), or click the link to a meeting.
  2. On the preview screen, click the more options button at the top right and select the ‘Turn on background blur’ option.
  3. Alternatively, there’s a background blur toggle at the bottom right of the preview screen that you can tap to quickly enable/disable background blur. 

Background blur & system resources

Google Meet works in a browser, and browsers alone tend to take a toll on a system. This feature is going to further tax your system’s resources. It could take enough of a toll that the call quality may end up suffering.

There’s no way around it just yet. If the call quality drops to a point where you can no longer communicate easily, your only option is to disable the background blur.

Google may have implemented a background blur feature, but it isn’t exactly optimized to run smoothly on systems with varying capabilities. Apps like Microsoft Teams and Skype do an exponentially better job at handling call quality while still being able to blur the background. Zoom manages backgrounds so well that users of the app actively look for creative backgrounds to use in their meetings.

It’s plain to see that Google hasn’t really made much of an effort here. The feature has been released at a point where many people are now returning to physical workspaces. Google did very little to take advantage of the initial rise in demand for an online meeting tool.

As for how well it works, it does blur the background effectively. You may get some edges around yourself, but the background is blurred enough that you can hide a messy room easily. 

It’s a good idea to sit in a well-lit place and against a background that doesn’t blend too well with you to get more accurate blurring.

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