U-M Google December Monthly Summary

January 17, 2022

The monthly U-M Google summaries inform the university community of new Google releases and previously communicated updates.


Google has added five new immersive backgrounds for Google Meet on the web, which feature subtle animation or change your lighting. Additionally, there are now more options to customize your video with various light and color filters and more stylized backgrounds. The new backgrounds and styles are available on Google Meet on the web and can be added before joining a call or during a call. Learn more about using video effects and background change in Google Meet.

You can now start or join meetings and audio calls from 1:1 chats in Google Chat in Gmail on Android and iOS. At the moment, this feature is available for 1:1 chats only. Learn more about starting and scheduling a Google Meet video meeting.

Google Meet hosts and co-hosts can now lock all participants’ audio and video from iOS devices, which mutes and prevents them from using their cameras. The Audio Lock & Video Lock setting applies to all devices regardless of whether it’s set on a computer or an iOS device. According to Google, this feature will be available for Android in early 2022. Learn more about the Audio Lock & Video Lock setting.

You can now more easily take action in other Google Workspace products from Google Chat. Hover over the plus “+” icon to the left of the chat field to access the menu options. These options vary by context and can include Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Photos, and Calendar. According to Google, this feature will initially be available on the Web and Android, with iOS available in early 2022.

Google Chat on the web, the new quick access menu is open

Google has announced that they have improved the "Automatically add invitations" setting in Google Calendar to help prevent unwanted invitations from being added to your calendar. You can now choose to either: 

  • Always have invitations automatically added 
  • Only have them automatically added if you have RSVP’d in the email event invitation.

This feature will be off by default and can be turned on by going to your Google Calendar > Settings menu (gear icon) > Event settings > "Add invitations to my calendar." Learn more about responding to Google Calendar event invitations.

New event settings in Google Calendar

Google has added account profile pictures in the top corner of the Google Calendar mobile apps so you can tell which account you’re currently using and toggle between accounts. Learn more about switching between Google Accounts in the Google Calendar app

  • The filmstrip in Google Slides is now collapsable

In Google Slides, editors can now collapse or expand the filmstrip as needed. Collapsing the filmstrip expands the current slide view for more focused editing. You can expand the filmstrip when you need to view, navigate to, and edit the other slides in your presentation.

Animated GIF, Google Sheets presentation, cursor collapses the filmstrip

Previously Communicated: