It's been a busy week of updates for workplace productivity tools: Calendly will let you screen meeting invites, Figma has dark mode, Superhuman is on Outlook now. Google also announced a slate of forthcoming Workspace updates at its I/O developer conference, some powered by AI. Many of the new features are aimed at making you look a lot less exhausted than you really are in Google Meet.
According to Google, Portrait Restore will enhance video on Google Meet despite bad lighting and low-quality web cameras. There's also portrait lighting, which will artificially improve lighting and let people adjust the brightness and position of the light in their video box. Other updates include de-reverberation, which limits annoying echoes, and automated meeting transcripts from a Meet to a Google Doc.
A major update is portrait restore, which Google says will enhance video on Google Meet despite bad lighting and low-quality web camerasGIF: Google
Video chatting services are experimenting with AI in all kinds of different ways in order to make videos better. The startup Headroom uses AI for "gesture recognition," automatically registering a thumbs-up or raised hand and displaying the reaction with emoji. But this experimentation is controversial when it comes to "emotion" AI, a technology Zoom was considering that uses AI to recognize and analyze people’s moods and emotions. The move, brought to light by Protocol's reporting, has prompted concern and activism from human rights groups.
Google's announced features are simply tackling video quality for now — and will likely receive a greater reception than Docs' "inclusive warnings" feature, which Motherboard called "very broken." It also plans to "help people focus on what's important" with automatic summaries of conversations in Spaces, Google Workspace's conversation hub.