Eight months into working from home and many of us are still struggling with video calling etiquette. Do I look into the camera, or at the screen? How do I know when it’s my turn to speak? And how do I ask a question without interrupting someone? (Also see: Top 5 tips for video conference etiquette).
Google, it seems, may have an answer. The company announced a roster of new features for its Google Meet platform over the summer, the latest of which to arrive is virtual hand raising. This is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: the ability for a meeting participant to virtually raise their hand if they have a question, or indicate to others that they’d like to speak.
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The new feature should prove particularly useful in large group meetings: instead of multiple people clamouring to speak at once and interrupting one another, users can click the ‘Raise Hand’ button along the bottom bar of the Google Meet window. When a participant raises their hand, the moderator will see a hand icon in the participant’s video preview.
It’ll also show them in the order they were raised – meaning no excuses for preferential treatment. Saying that, the moderator can lower a specific person’s hand – or everyone’s hands – if they should so choose, which sounds a little demeaning but presumably is there for good reason.
Alternatively, users have the option to lower their hand if they have second thoughts about their question. If the moderator is presenting in another tab, they’ll get a sound notification when someone raises their hand.
Virtual hand raising is already rolling out to users. It’s available for customers on Workspace Essentials, Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, and Enterprise Plus plans, as well as G Suite Business, Education, Enterprise for Education, and Non-profits customers.
Workspace Business Starter and G Suite Basic customers and users with personal Google Accounts will have to do without.