Google Chromecast just got a feature you’ll wish you had months ago

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If you’ve been working from home since the novel coronavirus disrupted our entire way of life, you’re probably familiar with video calls. After months of team meetings, one-on-ones, appraisals, private chats with HR, family pub quizzes, after work pints with colleagues and much, much more over video call software – you’ve probably wished that you could ditch the laptop that’s been precariously balanced on your knees. Well, now you can.

Google has started to roll out an update for Google Meet that allows users to wirelessly throw their video calls to a Chromecast dongle as well as other Cast-enabled devices, such as Android TV-powered tellies, Google Nest Hubs and more.

This means you’ll be able to relax into the comfort of your sofa – rather than perch on any uncomfortable stool in the kitchen with a laptop – and watch the call on the big screen. According to Google, “it just felt right to expand Meet to even more screens in your home”.

While that’s true, we’d argue that the time to roll out this update was a few months ago, when we all started to work from home. Nevertheless, it’s still brilliant to have the option to watch on the big screen now.

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To wirelessly beam your next Google Meet call from your laptop to your TV, you’ll need to download the latest version of Google Chrome to your PC.

You’ll also want to make sure you’ve updated your Google Chromecast as well. But while you’ll be able to watch on the big screen, you’ll still need to have your laptop to hand because Google Meet uses the webcam, microphone and audio from your computer when you need to contribute to the call.

If you’re watching a talk – but not talking on the call – you don’t need to have your laptop or desktop to hand. However, if you need to chat on the call, you’ll still need to make sure that you’re within earshot of the laptop microphone (and sight of the webcam).

When everything is updated and good to go, you should see an option to Cast your next meeting before joining it.

It’s also possible to start casting partway through a call by clicking on the three-dot option icon and then select Cast This Meeting.

Since the public health crisis, Google has updated its Google Meet video call software at a breakneck pace. In order to keep pace with competitors like Messenger Rooms, Zoom and Microsoft Teams, the Californian firm has made Google Meet free to anyone with a Gmail account (which are also free to set-up).

More recently, the company integrated the software with Gmail online, on iOS and Android apps. If you don’t see the ability to send your call to Chromecast within Google Meet right now, be patient – it usually takes a little while for new functionality to roll out to users worldwide.

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