Working with remote and in-office colleagues? Learn how to thrive in hybrid work environments.

Improve collaboration equity in hybrid meetings with Companion mode

Companion mode is rolling out over the next few weeks. Get updates on the rollout. Also, some features, such as hand raising, require specific Google Workspace editions. Learn more about Google Workspace editions.
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Companion mode is a way to connect to Google Meet video calls for collaboration equity. Your mic is off in Companion mode, so you can connect to calls on a second screen without the risk of audio feedback from your laptop.

In meeting rooms, use Companion mode to share your laptop screen or use chat, polls, Q&A, and host controls. To speak or listen to remote participants, connect with full audio and video (non-Companion mode) on meeting-room hardware or Google Nest Hub Max.

When you're remote, join meetings with full audio and video (non-Companion mode). Use Companion mode on a second screen to view presentations or captions more clearly as needed.

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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. And use the meeting-room hardware, or Nest Hub Max, for audio and video. Watch the Companion mode video overview.

To avoid missing chat messages, connect using Companion mode at the beginning of the meeting. Messages sent before you connect aren't included in your chat stream. If you plan to use chat during the meeting, remind meeting-room participants to connect using Companion mode.

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Connect & present using Companion mode on your laptop

  1. To connect your laptop to a video call in Companion mode, choose one of the following options:
    • In a meeting invite, click Join. Then on the meeting landing page, under Other joining options, click Use Companion mode.
    • In your browser, enter the short link g.co/companion. Then on the Meet home screen, select a meeting, or enter a meeting code.
  2. To quickly share your laptop screen in Companion mode, choose one of the following options:
    • In a meeting invite, click Join. Then on the meeting landing page, click Present, and choose what to share.
    • In your browser, enter the short link g.co/present. Then on the Meet home screen, select a meeting, and choose what to share.
  3. To speak, hear others, or share your video, choose one of the following options:
    • Connect the meeting-room hardware, or Nest Hub Max, to the call. Learn how to connect meeting-room hardware.
    • Join the meeting using full audio and video (non-Companion mode) on your laptop or mobile device.

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How Companion mode supports collaboration equity

Device, participant & hosting information

Device information
  • Audio—Your microphone and meeting audio are turned off in Companion mode to avoid echoes. To speak or listen to others on the call, use meeting-room hardware or Nest Hub Max. Your laptop can still play notifications, such as join requests, and audio from other apps, in Companion mode.
  • Video—Your video camera is turned off in Companion mode. Also, your tile is hidden from the participant grid to make room for other video feeds. When you raise your hand in Companion mode, Meet displays your avatar and name followed by (Companion) to other participants. For example, Quinn Taylor (Companion).
  • Activity notifications—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.
  • Mobile devices—Companion mode isn't available on mobile devices.
Participant information
  • Companion mode participants—The People list shows everyone who is connected to the meeting using Companion mode.
  • Join & leave notifications—All participants are notified when Companion mode users connect or disconnect.
  • Guests—The meeting host must approve people who aren't signed in to a Google Account (guests) before they can connect using Companion mode. 
Presenting & viewing presentations
  • g.co/present—When you present using g.co/present, you connect to the meeting in Companion mode. To speak, hear others, or share your video in the meeting, connect using meeting-room hardware or Nest Hub Max. Or join the meeting using full audio and video (non-Companion mode).
  • People list—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.
  • Viewing presentations—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.
Hosting
  • Host controls—You can use host controls to moderate meetings in Companion mode. For example, you can make web, mobile, or Companion mode participants co-hosts, set up attendance tracking, and end the call for all (including Companion mode users). 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 disconnect when they left the meeting room. Learn more about ending meetings for everyone.
  • Live stream events—You can start and stop live stream events from Companion mode if you set up the events in Google Calendar before the meeting. Learn more about live stream events.

Known issues

Breakout rooms
If you're a host, you can set up breakout sessions when you connect 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. When the breakout sessions end, 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.
Grid view during the rollout
People who don’t yet have Companion mode view Companion mode participants as tiles labeled Name (Companion) in the participant grid. For example, Quinn Taylor (Companion). For people who have Companion mode, Companion tiles are hidden from the grid.

FAQ

Who can use Companion mode, and what features are available?
Companion mode is rolling out to all Google Meet users. The availability of features, such as hand raising, depends on your Google Workspace edition. Learn more about Google Workspace editions.
Do Companion mode connections count toward the participant limit?
Yes, Companion mode connections and presentations each count toward the participant limit. The people icon, which appears on the bottom right of the meeting window on the web, shows the current number of participants. 
I'm not in a meeting room. Can I use Companion mode as a second screen—to view presentations or captions more clearly?
Yes. If you're 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.

Related topics


Google, Google Workspace, and related marks and logos are trademarks of Google LLC. All other company and product names are trademarks of the companies with which they are associated.

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