Google Meet emoji reactions are finally here

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It’s been almost a year since Google said it would bring emoji reactions to Meet, and now they’ve finally arrived.

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Google is finally rolling out emoji reactions for Meet, something myself and other colleagues have been patiently waiting for since Google announced the feature last year. Now the video conferencing platform will let you silently send out reactions to colleagues during calls.

The emoji don’t stay static like they do on Zoom, though. A line of reactions used during the call will instead float up the left side of the screen and will burst if multiple people use the same ones. Small emoji badges will also appear in the upper-left corner of your video tile, so you’ll get to see who reacted with what. While I haven’t gotten the chance to try it out myself yet, it seems like a fun way to liven up typically routine meetings.

Picture shows a simulated phone screen with two people in a Google Meet video chat conversation, with several emoji reactions available to choose from including a thumbs up, sparkly heart, or clap.

Picture shows a simulated phone screen with two people in a Google Meet video chat conversation, with several emoji reactions available to choose from including a thumbs up, sparkly heart, or clap.

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To start, Google’s introducing the heart, thumbs-up, party popper, wave, joy, astonished, thinking, cry, and thumbs-down emoji. It isn’t the full range of emoji reactions that Zoom offers, but it’s still a start.

You can use a reaction by selecting the “smile” icon in Meet’s control bar, where you can then choose the emoji you want to use, as well as select a skin tone, which Google will then apply to all the other reactions that can change color.

Google says the feature is now available on Google Meet for web, iOS devices, and Meet hardware devices. It hasn’t yet arrived on Android, but we’ve asked Google for more information on when it might start rolling out.

This is just one of the 360-degree backgrounds coming to Meet.

This is just one of the 360-degree backgrounds coming to Meet.

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In addition to emoji reactions, Google’s introducing neat 360-degree backgrounds on the Meet mobile app that move as you rotate your camera.

You can see how this feature works in the above GIF, which shows how the background changes when the camera’s positioned in different areas. This feature’s coming to both Android and iOS in the coming weeks. It will feature a beach-themed background first, with others called oasis, sky city, and mountain temple set to arrive after.

Google’s also set to start reminding users that they should transition to the Duo-integrated version of Meet (no, not the original Meet app or the Duo placeholder) that it calls the “single solution for both video calling and meetings.” The final warnings go out on January 17th, and Google will start switching users to the upgraded Meet app “in the coming months.”

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