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Use Companion mode for collaboration equity in hybrid meetings

Some Google Meet features, such as polls, require specific Google Workspace editions. Learn more about Google Workspace editions.

Companion mode is a way to join Google Meet video calls on a second screen for collaboration equity. To reduce the risk of audio feedback from the second screen, your microphone is off in Companion mode.

How to use Companion mode in Google Meet

 Business use cases

Use Companion mode:

  • When you're in an office meeting room—Join using Companion mode on your laptop to share your screen or use chat, polls, Q&A, and host controls. To speak, listen to remote participants, or view the participant grid, connect with full audio and video (non-Companion mode) on meeting-room hardware or Google Nest Hub Max.
  • Whenever you want a second screen—Join using Companion mode on a second screen to view presentations or captions more clearly. To speak, listen to participants, or view the participant grid, join with full audio and video (non-Companion mode) on another screen.

Join & present using Companion mode on your laptop

You can join scheduled Google Meet video calls on a second screen using Companion mode on your laptop. Learn how to schedule Meet video calls.

Meeting room participants—To avoid missing chat messages, join using Companion mode at the beginning of the meeting. Messages sent before you join aren't included in your chat stream.

  1. To join using Companion mode on your laptop, choose one of the following options:
    • Use a meeting invite:
    • Use a short link:
      • In your browser, enter Then on the Meet home screen, select a scheduled meeting or enter a meeting code.
    • Present using a short link:
      • In your browser, enter Then on the Meet home screen, select a meeting, and choose what to share.
  2. To turn on your camera in Companion mode, click Turn on camera .

    When your camera is on in Companion mode, your participant tile:

    • Shows up to other Meet users who join with full audio and video
    • Shows up on meeting room hardware only when you raise your hand and/or are checked in
    • Never shows as an active speaker
  3. To share your screen after joining in Companion mode, click Present now .
  4. To speak, listen to participants, or view the participant grid, join with full audio and video (non-Companion mode) on another screen.
  5. To exit the meeting from Companion mode: At the bottom of the meeting window, click Leave call End call.

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Learn more about Companion mode

How Companion mode supports collaboration equity

If everyone is remote—or if everyone is in the same meeting room—they all have equal access to activities. But when you have a mix of remote and meeting-room participants (hybrid meetings), people in meeting rooms are at a disadvantage: They can't individually chat, upvote questions, or answer polls using meeting-room hardware or Nest Hub Max.

When you're in a meeting room, use Companion mode on your laptop to participate in activities with remote attendees or share your personal video tile. And use the meeting-room hardware, or Nest Hub Max, for audio and video. Watch the Companion mode video overview.

Compare Companion mode to full audio & video (non-Companion mode)

The following table shows the differences between joining a meeting using Companion mode and joining with full audio and video.

Infographic: Collaboration equity in hybrid meetings

To remind meeting-room participants to use Companion mode, consider printing this infographic and posting it in conference rooms. Download infographic

Learn about functionality, participants & activities

Audio & video

The following meeting features are off or work differently in Companion mode:

  • Audio—Your microphone and meeting audio are turned off in Companion mode to avoid echoes. To speak or listen to others on the call, join with full audio on meeting-room hardware or another device. Your laptop can still play notifications, such as join requests, and audio from other apps, in Companion mode.
  • Video—You can turn your camera on in Companion mode to let others see your participant tile with your video feed. However, when you're speaking, your participant tile doesn't appear as the active speaker, because Companion mode doesn't have an audio stream. When you turn your camera off in Companion mode, your self-view shows your avatar, and other participants no longer see your tile.
Participant limits & information

Keep the following points in mind:

  • Participant limits—Companion mode connections and presentations each count toward your participant limit in Meet.
  • Join & leave notifications—All participants are notified when Companion mode users join and leave meetings.
  • Guests—People who aren't signed in to a Google Account (guests), must be approved by a meeting host before they can join using Companion mode.
  • People list
    • The People list shows everyone who joins the meeting using Companion mode.
    • People who are presenting in Companion mode appear twice on the People list. Listing them twice lets you pin or eject people and presentations independently.
  • Participant grid—In Companion mode, the participant grid is hidden. The meeting window is reserved for screen sharing and activities.
Viewing presentations in Companion mode

If there are 2 or more presentations in a meeting:

  • People using Companion mode view the active presentation only.
  • If the active presenter stops presenting, other presenters need to resume their presentations for people using Companion mode to view them.
Using host controls in Companion mode

The following features are available in Companion mode:

  • Host controls—You can make participants co-hosts and set up attendance tracking. You can also control the use of chat, screen sharing, video, and audio. Learn more about host controls.
  • Ending the call for all—As a host, you can end the meeting for everyone. Ending the meeting for everyone disconnects any participants who might have forgotten to leave. Learn more about ending meetings for everyone.
  • Live stream events—If you set up the events in Google Calendar before the meeting, you can start and stop live stream events from Companion mode. Learn more about live stream events.
Activity notifications on meeting room hardware
When people in meetings send chat messages or start activities, such as polls, notifications appear on meeting-room hardware and Nest Hub Max. These notifications remind people in meeting rooms to use Companion mode to participate.
Using Companion mode as a second screen
You can use Companion mode as a second screen whenever you want to view presentations or captions more clearly. When viewing the presentation on a second screen, you can also unpin the presentation from your primary screen. Unpinning the presentation lets you view more video feeds from participants on your primary screen. However, improving collaboration equity in hybrid meetings is the main reason to use Companion mode.

Known issues

Breakout rooms
If you're a meeting host, you can set up breakout sessions when you join using Companion mode. And you can assign people who are using Companion mode to breakout sessions. However, people using Companion mode can’t speak or hear in breakout sessions. And you can’t assign meeting-room hardware or Nest Hub Max to breakout sessions.

To set up breakout rooms in hybrid meetings, choose from the following options:

  • Keep in-person participants (people in meeting rooms) in the main room of the Google Meet call, rather than assigning them to breakout sessions.

  • Ask an in-person participant in each meeting room to disconnect the meeting-room hardware from the meeting. Then have them join the meeting on their laptop or phone with full audio and video, and assign them to a breakout session. When the breakout sessions end, have the person reconnect the meeting-room hardware to the meeting.

  • Before the event, set up separate meetings to use for breakout sessions. When the breakout sessions begin, ask attendees to disconnect from the main meeting and connect to the breakout sessions. At the end of the breakout sessions, use Google Chat to remind participants to return to the main room.

Learn more about breakout rooms.

3rd party Chrome extensions
Some 3rd party Chrome extensions cause unexpected problems in meetings. If you notice issues, try turning off 3rd party extensions. Learn more about 3rd party Chrome extensions.
Your participant tile
When you're using Companion mode:
  • You can minimize or move your participant tile self-view, but you can't pin it.
  • You can turn your camera on to share your video, but your participant tile doesn't show when you're speaking.
  • Meeting room hardware shows your participant tile only when you raise your hand and/or when checked in. However, you can pin participants using the meeting-room hardware.

Related topics


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