After making Google Meet free (until September) for everyone since May, Google announced a noise cancellation feature for Meet the next month as a perk to draw more people to the service as a Zoom competitor. G Suite’s director of product management, Serge Lachapelle, recorded a first ‘look’ into what the noise cancellation feature is like.
“Well, what are noises that people typically hear when you’re in a meeting and the mics are on?” said Lachapelle in the video (which you can watch above).
In the video demonstration, Lachapelle showed various noises that can be considered irritating if you’re trying to concentrate in a video meeting. The noises include the crinkling of chip packets, the clicking of a pen, and the clack of when a spoon hits glass when mixing drinks.
When the noise cancellation is enabled, the noises are removed, but his voice is still clear. Lachapelle explains in the video that the feature is possible with ‘machine learning’.
“What happens is that my voice is going to go securely into a machine learning process in Google Cloud and its going to do its best to remove these noises from my voice,” he explains.
Although it’s incredibly impressive to see the demo being used in the video, I couldn’t help but to notice that his voice didn’t sound as clear or as crisp as compared to when he switched the noise cancellation mode off. Even so, the mode will be really handy for when I want to type in my keyboard while I’m in a meeting, or lessen unnecessary mouth sounds.
Google has been working on this feature for over a year and it has been using YouTube clips of people talking to train the AI model. Lachapelle is also clear that Google will not use external meetings to train it.
The new Google Meet feature is already available for select G Suite customers, and it should be available to more users over time. It will only be available on the desktop version first before expanding the feature to Android and iOS. When it’s available, the noise cancellation mode will be on by default, but it can be easily toggled off from the menu in a meeting.
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