What is Companion Mode in Google Meet and How to Use It

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What is Companion Mode in Google Meet and How to Use It

The complete guide to Companion Mode in Google Meet

Although video conferencing applications such as Google Meet became popular when the majority of people worked remotely, they’re just as important today as people return to their offices or implementing a hybrid work model. To ensure that the software is current, the tech giant has taken care to include new features.

One of the features that caters specifically to meetings that are hybrid includes one of the features that is specifically designed for hybrid meetings: Companion Mode in Google Meet. Let’s take a look at what exactly it does as well as how to utilize it to improve the efficiency of your meetings.

What is the Companion Mode?

Companion mode lets you join the meeting from another screen. If you’re at the office and are using meeting room equipment as well as Nest Hub Max for a hybrid meeting, the participants who are in the meeting do not have access to any meeting options. Options like chat with participants from a distance, or taking polls, Q&A or any other meeting control becomes impossible using only meeting equipment.

However, attending the meeting on your laptop can cause an uproar in the form sound feedback. This is the reason Companion Mode comes in.

When you are in Companion Mode, the mic and video are shut off to prevent any echo, feedback or bandwidth bottlenecks. While you are able to turn your video on but the option of turning off the audio is absent when you are in Companion Mode. However, other options like in-meeting chat, pollsand Q&A and more. are also available. Therefore, you can make use of the meeting room equipment to meet the audio and video requirements of the meeting, to provide personal controls, you could switch to your laptop running in Companion Mode.

Companion Mode isn’t just for those who join conferences from the conference room of the hybrid model, however. When you’re working from a remote location, you can utilize companion mode to add a second screen.

If, for instance, you are required to speak during the meeting, your presentation will take all the screen space making it impossible to view the videos of other attendees. However, interaction is an essential element in the success of your presentation. By using an additional screen in Companion Mode, you are able to watch the video of your participants using your main device, and present on the other device. While you are watching a different presentation you can remove the primary screen and then view your presentation on the secondary screen in order to view video feeds on the original.

Companion Mode is available to everyone, not just Google Workspace users. It is however only accessible when you join using your desktop browser and not via the mobile application. In addition, every companion mode connection counts towards the limit of participants.

Features Available in Companion Mode

Some Google Meet features are available in Companion Mode. Companion Mode users have accessibility to these features when you use this mode:

  • In-meeting Chat
  • Whiteboard
  • Share Screen for Presentations
  • See Presentations
  • Closed Captions
  • Raise Hand
  • Controls for meetings (For Hosts of Meetings)
  • Visual Effects (if you decide to make your videos available for sharing)

Google Workspace users also get access to these features, dependent on the edition they have:

  • Participate and share your opinions in polls
  • Participate in Q&A and conduct your own
  • Breakout Rooms
  • Record meetings

Features Unavailable in Companion Mode

The experience of attending an event with a companion is generally identical however, these features are not available:

  • Meeting Audio and microphone input
  • Camera input is not enabled by default, but it can be activated.
  • The video feeds of other participants are not available; you can view presentations however. Since video feeds are not available and there’s no way to alter the layout.

Is Companion Mode Right For You?

If you’re wondering whether Companion Mode is right for you, here’s a quick cheat sheet:

  • In a conference space and you’re meeting with remote participants who are using Google Nest Hub Max or other hardware for meetings, use Companion Mode to access the same tools and control options as remote participants.
  • If you’re at a conference remote and you (or another person) is presenting, use Companion Mode on a different device to share or view the presentation. This means that you will still be able access to the video feeds of other attendees on the primary device.
  • If you’re remote and have one device that you can join the meeting from, don’t use Companion Mode. Join the meeting as normal with both video and audio.

After all of that is done, let’s look at how you can utilize Companion Mode. Companion Mode.

How to Join a Meeting in Companion Mode?

Participating in a meeting using companion mode is fairly simple. There are two ways that you can join a meeting when in the companion mode. The method you choose is based on the way you are planning to attend the meeting.

You have an HTML0 link to a meetingor invite:

If you have an invite or meeting link to join a meeting, clicking on the invite is the most convenient way to join the meeting. This is why we’ll also join this meeting using Companion Mode. Follow the link to join or invite.

The meeting will be on the landing page, where you typically review your video or audio before taking part in the conference. Click on “Use Companion Mode” under the Other Joining Options’ section. That’s all there is to it.

When you’ve got a meeting code

If you have an event coupon, it doesn’t need to visit meet.google.com to enter the code, and take part in the event using Companion Mode from the meeting landing page. Instead, go directly to g.co/companion. Enter the meeting’s code into the textbox and select ‘Start Companion’. The meeting will be joined in Companion mode.

If you attend an event in Companion Mode, the host of the meeting will be able to see that participants are in Companion Mode by a green symbol located in the upper left corner.

The list of participants also includes the users who are in companion mode, so all attendees is able to see.

Using Companion Mode in Google Meet

Once you’ve joined the meeting Companion Mode, it’s easy to navigate around it. If you join your meeting using Companion Mode, the first thing you’ll notice is that instead of any video feeds, the screen will say “Using Companion Mode’. The screen will also display a list of the features you can access when you’re in the mode.

In-Call Messages

Access to chat in-meeting is among the primary reasons for Companion mode, particularly when used by people in the conference room. The in-call message panel will automatically open on the right after you sign in when you are in Companion mode.

You are only able to view messages posted after you have joined the meeting. If you’d like to have access to all messages from the meeting make sure you join the meeting in Companion mode before the start in the session.

If you decide to close the panel for meetings, you can return at any time by clicking the “Chat” icon in the lower right.

Present Screen

Another reason why Companion Mode was made was to provide users with an additional screen for attending meetings, where they can collaborate and see the presentations. If you’d like to present during a meeting using Companion Mode, simply click the “Present Screen option from the toolbar for meetings.

Select what you like to display The entire screen, a window, or a tab – just like you would normally in meeting mode.

If you’re watching a presentation, there’s no need to change anything on your screen in companion mode. However, on the device you use using the regular meeting, press the button to unpin the presentation to view the video tile instead.

Send us your video

You may even share the video using the Companion mode when you’re within the room for a conference. (If the video is being used as a secondary screen, you don’t have to switch on your video to use Companion Mode).

Audio cannot be shared by Companion mode therefore, your tile will not be displayed as a speaker in active mode. Additionally the video won’t be displayed on the hardware in the meeting room even if it is visible to other participants at the table. If you speak up, the video will be visible on the hardware in the meeting room and vice versa.

Click the ‘Turn On Camera button on the toolbar to upload your video.

If you’re sharing your video You can also apply visual effects by selecting the three dots and then selecting ‘Apply Visual Effects in the menu. After that, choose the effect you want to apply from the window that appears.

Other Features

The majority of features you can avail depending on your account i.e. regardless of whether you have an account that is free or an account with a Workspace account, they function like they would in the normal Google Meet meeting.

For example, you could use the whiteboard to collaborate with others, raise your hands, enable captions, participate on polls, take part in Q&Asessions, create break-out rooms (if your role is hosting), and also assign Companion mode users to breakout rooms, etc.

When setting the breakout rooms, you need to keep in mind that there’s no audio when you’re in the companion mode. Therefore, if you assign users in companion mode to breakout rooms, they won’t be able to speak or hear. In addition, the meeting room equipment cannot be assigned to breakout rooms.

Utilizing Companion Mode in Google Meet isn’t difficult, and it should not be. However, there are some things to be aware of. I hope this guide has will help you in all your needs.