We’re getting intimately familiar with using video chat services right now. The most popular ones being Zoom and Google Hangouts. If you use Zoom, you’ll know that it has a popular mode that allows you to view all meeting participants in one big grid, so you can see everyone at once. But Google’s service doesn’t have that feature, unless you add a certain Chrome extension that can patch it into Google’s enterprise version of Hangouts that you may be using for work, Google Meet.
Google Hangouts (and its professionally-focused twin, Google Meet) forces you to use a “smart” mode where it just puts whoever is talking (or otherwise making noise) in the middle of the screen. You have very little control over this, aside from pinning someone else’s face to the screen, and you can only really see one person at a time on the screen.
Google Meet Enhancement Suite can fix that, for Google Meet users at least, and adds a bunch of features to Google Meet that make video conferencing easier. It has a “Grid Layout” mode, which is the same popular feature that Zoom has; there’s a “Push to Talk” feature that allows you to quickly mute and unmute yourself; and there’s an “Auto Join” feature that lets you go straight to the meeting, skipping the default join screen.
The best part? This Chrome extension is free. Unfortunately, if you’re just using the free version of Google’s Hangouts, you’re still stuck with the “smart” mode.
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