Google on Wednesday demonstrated a new machine learning (ML) feature on Meet — its video conferencing service – which eliminates background noise from video calls in real time. You might be nervous and clicking a pen while on a call but people won’t hear it.
While Google announced this feature back in April, it is being rolled out gradually to the users today. According to VentureBeat, the rollout is phased between Meet users, so everyone may not see the option right away.
When the feature was first announced, Google had said it would remove noise like keystrokes from taking meeting notes, a dog barking in the background etc. VentureBeat’s video also shows sounds like the noise from unwrapping something, stirring a coffee cup etc. being removed in real time.
Google isn’t the first, or the only one to be working on features like this either. Microsoft Teams had announced a similar feature in March. The company said its AI algorithm will be able to separate “stationary“ noises like a fan, and non-stationary noises like a police siren in the background. The company also said noise suppression has always been part of Teams and Skype, but it will be improving the feature sometime this year.
The use of intelligent software to remove noise from video calls has also been considered by others, but perhaps not in the same way. PC giant, Lenovo, had launched laptops last year which could remove clutter from a video automatically. So, something like dirty clothes on the couch behind you would be removed automatically by the artificial intelligence (AI) software.
Video conferencing services have been looking to one up each other ever since the pandemic made them viral. While Zoom has been the outright winner of the surge in demand, Google and Microsoft have been in this space just as long, if not longer.
Zoom recently announced a 169% year-over-year growth in revenue. Google, on the other hand, has made Meet completely free for all users. The company plans to impose a 60-minute limit on meetings for free users, but that won’t start till September this year.