Here’s a small, but potentially valuable update, particularly for those still working from home.

Google has outlined a new update to its ‘virtual green screen’ tools in Google Meet, which will enhance its background morphing tools, so you get less of those weird glitches and ‘rips’ in the digital fabric as you move around on-screen.

Google Meet virtual background

As displayed in these examples, the top image is the current system, which those ghostly trails that halo around your body, while the bottom shows the updated display, with the virtual background now more complete, and less susceptible to movement interference.

What’s more, the new process now also runs directly in the browser, as opposed to running on CPU inference.

As explained by Google:

With the latest update to Google Meet, we are now harnessing the power of GPUs to significantly improve the fidelity and performance of these background effects. These advances are powered by two major components: 1) a novel real-time video segmentation model and 2) a new, highly efficient approach for in-browser ML acceleration using WebGL. We leverage this capability to develop fast ML inference via fragment shaders. This combination results in substantial gains in accuracy and latency, leading to crisper foreground boundaries.”

For those trying to work out what all that means, the last line is the only one you really need – the new background effects are designed to utilize variable computing resources to improve performance, with the process either utilizing on-device processing, where possible, or referring to cloud-based computing for systems that are less capable of running real-time video effects.

“Meet automatically adjusts between device-based and cloud-based effect processing to offer the best possible experience. This helps to save battery and up to 30% of CPU on your device while optimizing effect quality.”

The end result is that your virtual backgrounds on Google Meet will now perform better on all devices. You still might get a few glitches here and there, but it should be more stable – so if you’re trying to convince your co-workers that you’re actually someplace else, or you’re trying to hide the shame that your messy house could bring, now, you’ll be better equipped to do so.

You can read more about how Google has improved its virtual background effects here.

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