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Let users apply backgrounds & special effects

As an administrator, you can let users replace their background and use special effects during a Google Meet meeting. You can provide images for your users to use as backgrounds and let users upload their own images. 

By default, Google Workspace for Education users can replace their background with a stock or seasonal image. All other Google Workspace users can replace background images with stock, seasonal, or uploaded images and use special effects, such as filters.

These settings impact meetings, but not calls and messages.

Choose visual effect settings

Before you begin: To apply the setting for certain users, put their accounts in an organizational unit (to set by department) or a configuration group (to set for users across or within departments).

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in

  2. In the Admin console, go to Menu and then Appsand thenGoogle Workspaceand thenGoogle Meet.
  3. Click Meet video settings.
  4. To apply the setting to everyone, leave the top organizational unit selected. Otherwise, select a child organizational unit or a configuration group.
  5. Click Visual effects.
  6. If you want to let users replace their background with an image or use styles, check the Users can replace their background with an image box. If you turn this setting on, even people outside of your organization can replace their background during meetings that your users organize.
    You can also select one or more of the following options:
    • Users can replace their background with custom images they provide themselves—Allows users to use their own custom images in Meet meetings. The image will not be available to other attendees to use. If you turn this setting on, even people outside of your organization can replace their background with a custom image during meetings your users organize.
    • Users can replace their background with stock seasonal images–Allows users to select Google-provided seasonal background images, often related to holidays.
    • Users can replace their background with a custom image provided by you–Allows users to select images that you provide. You can create a label for each image for screen readers (details below on this page).

    Note: Users using VDI have limited effects options and cannot preview any effects in the greenroom preview.

  7. If you want to allow users to use filters provided by Google, check the Users can use special effects box.
  8. Click Save. If you configured an organizational unit or group, you might be able to either Inherit or Override a parent organizational unit, or Unset a group.

    Changes can take up to 24 hours but typically happen more quickly. Learn more

Set up custom images

You can provide up to 15 images for each organizational unit or group in your organization. We recommend that you use JPEG images, landscape orientation, and images no larger than 1920x1080p. You should test the image before providing it to users.

Like all other Google Drive files, retention policies apply to custom images. For details, go to How retention works

Set image access 

  1. Add the images to a shared drive that everyone in your organization can access. For details, go to Set up shared drives for your organization.
  2. Set general access to the file to Anyone with the link. For details, go to Share and collaborate on files
  3. Set sharing permissions on the file so that you can edit the images and your users can view the images.
    We strongly recommend that you share the images with View access to prevent users from modifying them.
    Your users can’t use the images as backgrounds if they lose permission to view the images or the image is deleted from Drive. 

Add image labels for accessibility

After you add an image as a custom background, you can create a label for the image so that screen readers announce the label. The default label for an image is the same as the file name in Drive.

To change an image label:

  1. Point to the image and click Menu and thenRename image
  2. Enter a label name and click Save.

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