Google Meet Early Access Program

Posted by Vince Butler on 9/16/2020

I have signed the district up for the Google Meet Early Access Program, which gets us access to a slew of new features before they are publicly available. Keep in mind that these are still technically works in progress and may still have some kinks to work out. Also, if you have extensions installed that enhance Meet (like grid view, attendance, etc) you may want to disable them if you experience issues using these beta features. Some of these features are only available to the meeting owner which is the person who *starts* the meeting, so for you teachers who have other staff joining your meeting (aides, student teachers, etc), please make sure you are always the first one in!

Below you will find instructions from Google for using the following pre-release features:
  • Polls and Q&A
  • Layout improvements (view up to 49 attendees on your screen - no more Grid View!)
  • Breakout Rooms
  • Whiteboarding (hoping this works well for those of you on touchscreen Chromebooks)
  • Background blur

Polls and Q&As on Google Meet

With large groups participating in video meetings, engaging an audience is difficult without everyone talking over each other. New Q&A and Polling features in Google Meet allow meeting hosts to ask and answer questions and poll participants to get audience feedback and consensus. These features will be available exclusively for users in G Suite Enterprise and G Suite Enterprise for Education plans once they are generally available.


Learn more about Q&A in Meet

Engage participants in meetings by allowing them to ask and upvote questions. Participant Q&A is also great for large meetings when you want to limit interruptions but still want participation from the group. 

Create Q&A in Meet on Web Browsers

  1. To use the Q&A feature (available to all meeting participants in the meeting), click the Meeting Tools icon in the top right corner of your meeting.
  2. Select "Q&A"
  3. If you are the moderator of the meeting, you must toggle "Allow questions" on to allow participants to ask questions in the meeting. This option is available in the Q&A panel. Note that by default, question submission will be disabled. 
  4. Participants can click "Ask a question", type the question, upvote questions, and click “Post”. 
  5. Moderators will be able to mark a question as answered, hide or delete a question.
  6. Following the meeting, if the Q&A feature was used, Moderators will receive an email linking to a Sheet with all Q&A data.


Learn more about Polling in Meet

Engage participants in large meetings with real-time polling. Polling is a simple way to gather data from your audience and share results. 

Create Polls in Meet on Web Browsers

  1. To create a poll (note: only available to meeting moderators), click the Meeting Tools icon in the top right corner of your meeting.
  2. Select "Polls" and click "Start a Poll" to populate the fields with a polling question and multiple choice answers. 
  3. Once you've finished your poll, you can either Save it (to launch later) or press Launch to post immediately. 
  4. Once you've launched your poll, you can choose if you'd like everyone in the meeting to see the results or only allow the moderator to see the results. 
  5. Following the meeting, if the feature was used, moderators will receive an email linking to a Sheet with all polling data.



  • Will these features be available for users not in the early access group?
    • If the meeting host/moderator has these features, they will be available for all attendees of that meeting during early access. Q&A and Polls will be available exclusively for moderators in G Suite Enterprise and G Suite Enterprise for Education plans once they are generally available.
  • Will administrators be able to enable/disable these features during early access?
    • The feature is available to all users in the group enrolled in the early access program.
  • Will Q&A and Polls be available after the meeting ends?
    • Following the meeting, the moderator will receive an email with a link to a Sheet containing their polling data. 
  • Will the moderator be able to delete or hide questions that have been answered during the Q&A? 
    • Yes, questions can be hidden or soft deleted (and still available in the export).
  • Will participants joining on a mobile device be able to see Q&A and Polls? 
    • No, this feature is only available for web browsers during early access.


Learn more about Layout Improvements

  • By default, the maximum number of tiles you’ll see in
    • Auto layouts is 12
    • Tiled layouts is 20
  • You can use a slider to increase the maximum number of tiles you see up to 49 tiles for Auto and Tiled layouts options


Enable 49 Tiles

To enable 49 Tiles, follow the steps below while on the Meet call on a web browser.

  1. Click on the “...” to the right of the bottom action bar > Change layouts
  2. Move the slider to the number of tiles you desire e.g. 49


Layout Improvements FAQs

  • Why do I see less tiles than the number I selected in the slider?
    • We show fewer tiles for smaller browser window sizes.
  • What do I do if I run into performance issues?
    • Some lower-end devices may have a degraded experience with 49 tiles due to the CPU demands of so many concurrent video feeds. If you or your colleagues run into issues, you can reduce the tile count using the slider in the layouts dialog.
  • How do I add my self-feed to the grid?
    • You can hover over your thumbnail at the top right corner to add or remove your self-feed from the grid.
  • Will video tiles be prioritized over tiles with no videos?
    • Video tiles are prioritized over non-video tiles unless the active speaker has video off.


Learn more about Breakout Rooms

  • Moderators have the ability to define up to 100 breakout rooms while on a call on a web browser.
  • Participants can join their allocated breakout room, as well as move back and forth between their breakout room and the main room. 
  • Moderators have the ability to join individual breakout rooms and switch between them.
  • Moderators and participants will not be able to use the feature on mobile devices during early access.
  • Breakout rooms will be available exclusively for users in G Suite Enterprise and G Suite Enterprise for Education plans once it is generally available.


How to Start a Breakout Room as an Organizer of the Meet call

  1. Click on the bottom-right menu of the Meet call while on a web browser.
  2. Select the Breakout Rooms menu option
  3. Next, configure the rooms and participants
  4. Click the Create button to invite the participants to their corresponding rooms


Breakout Rooms FAQs

  • Will breakout rooms be available for users not in the early access group?
    • Users who are not whitelisted in the early access program cannot join breakout rooms. They will appear as “unsupported” in the breakout room UI for the moderator.
  • Why don’t I see the Breakout room menu option?
    • Only the meeting organizer will see the Breakout Room option while on a web call.
  • Will administrators be able to enable/disable this feature?
    • No. The feature is available to all users in the early access program.
  • Is there going to be a limit to the number of breakout rooms that can be created
    • In early access, there is a maximum limit of 100 breakout rooms. 
  • Which devices are supported?
    • In early access, Breakout Rooms is supported for desktop/laptop web browsers.


Learn more about Whiteboarding in Meet

  • Create and present a whiteboard during a meeting
  • Join a whiteboard initiated by others during a meeting
  • Attach a whiteboard to a recurring meeting 
  • Share your whiteboard with others to view or edit


Creating a Whiteboard in Meet

To start a whiteboard session, follow the steps below while on a Meet call.

  1. Click on the three dot overflow menu in the bottom right corner of the Meet meeting screen
  2. Select ‘Whiteboard’ in the menu
  3. Select ‘Start a whiteboard’ 
  4. A whiteboard will open in a new tab automatically or in a new window


Whiteboarding FAQs:

  • Does every meeting participant have access to view/edit the whiteboard?
    • Anyone in the meeting can use the whiteboard. The whiteboard creator is prompted to share access to the whiteboard with meeting participants. 
  • Will the whiteboard be available after the meeting?
    • Whiteboards are available for you and sharing recipients  in Google Drive and the Jamboard application. Meeting participants who are given access to the whiteboard also receive an email with a link to the whiteboard. 
  • Will the moderator create the whiteboard? 
    • Anyone in a meeting can create a whiteboard and share it with all meeting participants. 
  •  Will you be adding more features to Jamboard Web (i.e. the whiteboard accessed from Meet)?
    • Yes, and ideally based on your feedback!  Please keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming email with a brief survey for feedback on your experience.

Learn more about Background Blur

To help limit distraction in your meeting, you can blur the background of the video in Google Meet on the web. Meet will intelligently separate the user from the background and will blur the surrounding while keeping the user clear and in focus. Background Blur works directly within your browser and does not require an extension or any additional software. 

Background blur is currently available for:

  • Computers with 4+ core CPUs with hyperthreading or equivalent
  • Chrome browser v84 and higher
  • Temporarily disabled for ChromeOS


Background Blur FAQs:

  • How do I turn on Background Blur?
    • Background Blur is OFF by default. To turn Background Blur on, use the virtual background button before joining a meeting or use the contextual menu and select “Turn on background blur”. 
  • Will background blur be a sticky setting? 
    • The sticky setting for background blur is still being decided.
  • Is the feature available on IE, Safari or Firefox?
    • The feature is only available in Chrome version 84 and higher.
  • Why can’t I see the background blur button? 
    • This feature requires Chrome hardware acceleration to be enabled to function properly. To turn it on, follow the steps below:
  1. Click Chrome Menu 
  2. Select Settings
  3. Select Advanced option
  4. Select System 
  5. Turn on “Use hardware acceleration when available”
  6. Restart Chrome