Google Meet Companion Mode Introduced in Nest Hub Max

After updating Workspace (formerly G Suite) with a number of new features last year, Google’s previously announced Companion Mode is rolling out for the Nest Hub Max and other Google Meet devices.

Companion Mode is a second screen experience designed to support the shift toward mixed work environments by providing easier access to various Google Meet controls and features for people calling from a shared office.

Previously, employees who called from a conference room often had to vie for control if they wanted to do simple things like raise their hand (virtual) or leave a comment in chat. The result was that employees who worked remotely and called into meetings using a phone or PC were often more active and visible in meetings than their office colleagues who participated using a traditional conference room.

However, thanks to the addition of Companion Mode, office workers will soon be able to access most of the Google Meet features via the Nest Hub Max or other certified devices such as the Lenovo Tap while still being part of the joint meeting. And while the Nest Hub Max may not be a familiar sight in today’s meeting rooms, this new mode could help Google push more devices into businesses of all sizes as they adjust to their post-pandemic work arrangements. To join a meeting using companion mode, you can either activate the setting in the “green room” in Google Meet or with a custom URL:

Google Meet features available in Companion Mode include chatting, getting started, voting on polls, raising your hand (which includes displaying a person’s name and job title), using host controls and turning on captions or subtitles.

Google says the goal is to make sure that no matter where you work from, everyone on a video call will have access to a similar set of tools and features. Companion mode will be enabled by default, however, for people using the free version of Meet, it’s important to note that anyone using it will be counted as an additional participant in the 100-person limit, rather than a room full of people counting as one attendee.

Companion Mode is rolling out to Google Meet this week, although depending on your domain or user type, it may take a few more weeks for it to be available on your device.

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