Over the past year or so, you’ve been sitting at home, running endless virtual meetings, staring at the camera of your laptop, and speaking into your microphone. At the same time, you’ll find yourself in front of other people like a bunch of poorly lit pixels, and talking like you’re shouting in a tin can.
Help you “create something out of nothing” as a light source during a meeting
Google announced at its annual I/O developer conference that its team has been working on some AI-powered ways to improve your virtual meetings. One of the most impressive is the “portrait restoration” function. Google says it can automatically improve and sharpen your images, even if you’re using a bad lens.
Likewise, Portrait Lighting gives you a suite of AI-based controls to adjust your lighting. Obviously, you can’t move the window of your room from the right to your left, but Google Meet can make the image appear “as if” there is a window on the right as well.
In response to the sound issue, Google has introduced a noise-removing tool designed to minimize the echoes of talking into your laptop in a cramped home office.
A lot of the underlying technology here comes from Google’s previous AI and machine learning work on the Pixel phones. However, the hardware in these phones is much better than your laptop lens, but Prasad Cetti, the company’s vice president of digital work experience, said: “We want to make sure the underlying software does the same thing, and we can do more hardware devices using these technologies.”
With the growth of hybrid and remote work, the Google Workspace team has spent the past few years thinking about how to make work a little easier. “We want technology to be an enabler, we want it to be helpful, we want it to be intuitive, we want it to solve real problems.” This prompted the Workspace team to think more about collaboration—hence the Meeting tools, but also consider how to make asynchronous work more acceptable.
Google plans to roll out a new tool that generates automatic summaries of Spaces events, so you can log in in the morning and catch up with the event without having to read hundreds of previous messages. It also launched an automated transcription service for Meet meetings, and plans to summarize those meetings.
“We want to be able to help people deal with this information overload and use artificial intelligence to do that,” Seti said. Google has thought a lot about ‘collaborative fairness’ and ‘representative fairness’ to try to help everyone maintain an equal footing The playing field, no matter where they are, what technology they use, or how they work. One of Google’s strategies is to help people without being overly involved or making employees feel like they’re being watched by Google or their employer. We think about the problem The way we do it is we first empower users and then let them choose how to expose that information to their teams.”