Google Meet is rolling out the ability to switch off individual feeds. This should help block out any potential distractions during a meeting, such as a colleague’s obnoxious virtual background or maybe even an adorable cat that pops up in front of someone’s webcam.
Google says it won’t notify anyone that you’ve turned off their feed, so you won’t have to worry about hurting anyone’s feelings if you’re just not a fan of their virtual background (or cat). The meeting layout won’t change for anyone else on the call, either.
You can turn off individual feeds on Meet’s mobile and desktop apps. To do this, pull up the list of people in the meeting and find the person you want to hide. From there, hit the three dots next to their name and select “Don’t watch.”
In addition to this new feature, Google is also making it possible to block out all feeds except for the ones belonging to the people who are currently presenting. You can activate it by selecting “Audio only” when joining a meeting, but it’s only available on mobile devices for now.
With all the effects Google lets you apply to your video feed, like the animated — and now 360-degree — virtual background along with the wacky filters that turn you into an alien or plant a cartoon cat on your head, it’s nice that Google’s finally giving users a way to block all that out. Even Zoom and Microsoft Teams don’t yet give users the ability to disable individual streams, as this feature is only available for hosts to use.