Google is making Meet more social with a new feature called in-meeting reactions. The idea is that users can send one of nine emoji reactions, including 💖👍 and 😂, which will appear on the recipient's window and be visible to all in the meeting. If multiple users send emojis, they'll appear as a burst on the left side of your screen.
To use the function, you select the smile icon in the control bar, and can hover on the bar that pops up to select the skin tone of your choice for all emojis. Google calls it a "non-disruptive way to engage and participate in meetings without interrupting the speaker," with "skin tones that best represent your identity." Reactions will be on by default and can be turned off in the Admin console. The feature arrives starting on January 16th to web, Meet hardware devices and mobile, for all consumer and paid users.
Another feature arriving in the coming weeks is 360 degree backgrounds. Users on mobile will be able to insert 360 degree backgrounds that shift around based on your device's gyroscope for a more immersive experience. Backgrounds include a beach to start with, then oasis, sky city, and mountain temples to follow. It'll be available on mobile for iOS and Android, to consumers and paid users.