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April-May developments

In April, Microsoft Teams worked on new updates, including the new layout for content sharing in Together mode. This new layout allows you to view all video participants at the bottom of the screen. Together mode displays all participants against a shared background on a horizontal plane.

A recently released tool, Presets Background, helps businesses match their meetings with their company identity. The IT administrator will set the background of an organisation meeting participant when it is activated, and they will not be able to change it. Organisations may improve the professionalism and personalisation of their meetings with branded meetings. Meeting invitations and launch pages can now include your company logo and brand picture. Only Teams Premium subscribers have access to branded meetings and pre-made organisational backgrounds.

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Improved live translated captioning options are now available for webinars and town halls. Town hall event organisers can now select up to six languages for real-time caption translation. For an even more comprehensive experience, participants can select their preferred language from the list of alternatives. Teams Premium license holders can select up to ten languages for translation.

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(Source: Microsoft)

Starting this month, Google Meet offers an option for seamless transfer between devices during Google Meet calls. Participants can seamlessly switch between devices during a Google Meet call without disconnecting and reconnecting. Participants can notice the ‘Switch here’ option when they join a meeting on their laptop.

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(Source: Google Meet)

Annotation tools are released by Google Meet. Presenters and their assigned co-annotators can use these tools to annotate content or highlight certain passages. When you begin presenting, annotations will be enabled by default. Presenters may access various tools by opening the Annotations menu, including a text box, pen, sticker, and disappearing ink.

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(Source: Google Meet)

Google Meet has added the ability to disable non-video tiles, focusing only on video-enabled participants. This feature reduces screen clutter and allows for more focused discussions without affecting other participants’ appearance during the meeting.

Several new Google Meet capabilities are now in preview, including the ‘Take notes for me’ option. This feature allows users to focus more on the conversation by allowing Google Meet to take notes, avoiding switching between listening and taking notes during video sessions. Also, the ‘Translate for me’ function (coming in June) will automatically recognise and translate captions in Meet with assistance for 69 languages (equal to 4,600 language pairs), allowing users to feel more confident and connected to their coworkers, regardless of language. Later this year, Google Chat will introduce automatic message translation and quick chat summaries.

Zoom’s latest updates include new user features, including the Pronunciation field for Profile cards. Users can add a short description of pronouncing their name using the Name Phonetics field on the Zoom web portal profile page. Once this information is provided, it is displayed on the user’s profile tab. In Zoom Meetings, participants can customise the toolbar by adding, moving, or removing features to their liking. Toolbar options can be rearranged or placed in the More menu. Zoom’s new portrait lighting feature enhances your appearance by dimming the background and highlighting you in the foreground during meetings. You can access this setting within the video options in the app, and it requires similar hardware specifications as using virtual backgrounds without a green screen. In terms of meeting features, this update helps provide a better experience for meeting participants by dynamically adjusting to current speakers, highlighting and enlarging their video tiles in relation to the other speakers, and displaying other participants in a smaller gallery below. This feature is also available when viewing shared content in side-by-side mode, highlighting the speakers next to the shared screen or app window.

Are you planning an online meeting or event and need urgent advice?

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Our ConfTech Help desk provides countries and organisations with immediate advice on how to organise and run online meetings and events. Get in touch with us at conftech@diplomacy.edu.

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