Google has started to roll out its latest headline-grabbing feature for its Google Meet video calling: noise-cancelation. David Phelan for Forbes Consumer Tech writes it could be something big as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other apps compete with each other to win, and keep, new users.
Back in May, Microsoft promised an update which would subdue the noises of dogs barking or keyboards clicking. Now, Google Meet has pressed the button on its own way of making video calls more productive and enjoyable.
After all, we’ve got used to video that varies in quality and that checkerboard effect where a colored outline chases participants round the screen according to who’s talking.
But it’s the audio quality that often suffers in video calls and straining to hear participants over errant noises can be quite tiring, especially for calls that just go on and on.
Like Microsoft’s solution, keyboard noises will be quelled in the Google Meet update, along with that desk fan that’s becoming increasingly essential as the summer continues.
The sound of snacks being consumed will also become less evident in the new, updated Google Meet – though be warned, if your camera is on, the vision of a bag of potato chips being tipped into your mouth will endear you to nobody, even if they can’t hear the crunching that accompanies it.
The Cloud De-Noiser as it’s called uses machine learning to remove the noises but allow what’s being said to still be completely audible. Serve Lachapelle is the G Suite director of product management and he created a demo, seen on Venture Beat, of just how effective the process is.
It’s worth a listen because at times it’s hard to believe just how effective it is. Those potato chip rustlings are especially impressive. Lachapelle talks while he’s rustling the packet and though there is a different audio quality to his voice, every word is audible and understandable, but those pesky chips are as quiet as if you were eating jello. Or something else silent.
The desire to mute those snack sounds originated, Lachapelle explained that video conferencing between his office in Stockholm and offices in the U.S. meant there was a big time difference. Though the Swedish office was coming to the end of its day, the American office was starting, so cereals were being gobbled down Stateside or dinner polished off in Europe. The need to get rid of those noises was what set the project going in the first place. Quite right, too.
It’s being rolled out now to G Suite customers on the web, with iOS and Android to follow.