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Use Companion Mode for hybrid learning and collaboration

Important: Some features, such as hand raising, require specific Google Workspace editions. Learn more about Google Workspace editions.

You can use Companion Mode to join a Google Meet video meeting on a second screen. In Companion Mode, your mic and video are turned off to avoid any audio feedback.

When there is a mix of participants who are remote or in meeting rooms (hybrid meetings), people in a meeting room don't have access to individually chat, upvote questions or answer polls with meeting-room hardware or Nest Hub Max. Instead, you can use Companion Mode to improve participants' collaboration.  

  • In meeting rooms – Join meetings with audio and video on meeting-room hardware or Google Nest Hub Max to speak or listen to remote participants. To share your screen or use chat, polls, Q&A and host controls, use Companion Mode on your laptop. For improved use of features while in Companion Mode, use Room check-in to have:
    • Your personal video tile visible to other conference rooms on the call.
    • Your name appear on the conference room tile.
    • Your personal video tile and room name appear when you raise your hand.
  • When you're remote – Join a meeting with audio and video as normal.

Connect with Companion Mode and use Room check-in

Important: The Room check-in option only appears when a conference room is connected to your meeting.

When you join a Google Meet meeting in Companion Mode, you can check in or connect to a conference room. When you check in, your name appears in the participant list and on the room tile.

  • Room check-in is connected to a companion session: If you exit Companion Mode, your connection will be lost and you'll no longer be checked in to your room.
  • To find Room check-in, a room device must be on the call: You can only check in to devices that are on the call. If you join a companion without a Google Meet hardware device in the meeting, you won't be prompted to check in. If the Google Meet hardware device joins later, you're prompted in Companion Mode to check in.
  • Room check-in isn't verified: It's possible to check in to a room that you're not in. If someone abuses this on the call, to remove on-call participants from the meeting, click Remove from the callLearn how to remove people during a video meeting.
  • Names are sorted alphabetically on the room tile.

You can connect your laptop to a Google Meet meeting in Companion Mode from a meeting invitation or with a short link. 

Connect with Companion Mode from the meeting invite:

  1. In a meeting invitation, click Join.
  2. Under 'Other joining options', click Use Companion Mode.
  3. Optional: Check in to your conference room.
    • From the pop-up after you join, click Check-in.
    • If there are multiple rooms, in the pop-up, click Choose your room.
    • In the conference room that you're in, click Check-in.

Connect with the Companion Mode with a short link:

  1. In your browser, enter g.co/companion.
  2. Select a meeting or enter a meeting code.
  3. Optional: Check in to your conference room.
    • From the pop-up after you join, click Check-in.
    • If there are multiple rooms, in the pop-up, click Choose your room.
    • In the conference room that you're in, click Check-in.

After the meeting starts, check in to your conference room in Companion Mode:

  1. In Companion Mode, at the bottom left, click your meeting name.
  2. In the dialogue box, click Check-in.
  3. Optional: 
    • To exit Companion Mode and return to the meeting landing page: Click Leave and rejoin to use your audio .
    • To check in to a different conference room: Click Check in to a different room .
    • To check out of your conference room: Click Check out of your room .

Tips:

  • To avoid missing chat messages, connect with 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 with Companion Mode.

Reasons why you may not find a prompt for Room check-in

Use self view to share your personal video tile with remote participants

If you're in a meeting room and join with Companion Mode, you can turn on self view with your laptop camera to share your personal video tile with others on the call. Audio isn't shared and your personal video tile is never shown as an active speaker. When you turn off your camera, self view shows your avatar.

  1. Turn on self view: From the bottom of the Companion Mode screen, click Turn on camera .
    • Turn off self view: click Turn off camera Camera.
    • By default, self view is always off and minimised.
  2. Change background and apply visual effects: From the bottom of the Companion mode screen, click More options More and then Apply visual effects .

Important: 

  • When video is on, your self view shows up to other Meet users who join with full audio and video.
  • Self view only shows on Google Meet hardware devices when you raise your hand and/or when checked in.

Present with Companion Mode on your laptop

You can quickly share your laptop screen in Companion mode.  

From the meeting invitation: 

  1. In a meeting invitation, click Join.
  2. On the meeting landing page, click Present and then choose what to share.

Use a short link: 

  1. In your browser, enter g.co/present.
  2. On the Meet home screen, select a meeting  and then choose what to share.

 Learn more about Companion Mode

Video overview of Companion Mode

Infographic: Collaboration equity in hybrid meetings

Who can use Companion Mode, and what features are available?

Companion Mode will be available to all Google Meet participants. The availability of features such as hand raising depends on your Google Workspace edition. Learn more about Google Workspace editions.

I'm not in a meeting room. Can I use Companion Mode as a second screen?

Yes. When you view the presentation on a second screen, you can unpin the presentation from your primary screen so that you can view more video feeds from participants on your primary screen. 

Learn about devices, participants and hosting

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. Your tile is also 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, Your name (Companion).
  • Activity notifications – When people in meetings send chat messages or start activities like 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 tab shows everyone who is connected to the meeting with Companion Mode.
  • Join and leave notifications – All participants are notified when Companion Mode participants connect or disconnect.
  • Guests – The meeting host must approve people who aren't signed in to a Google Account (guests) before they can connect with Companion Mode. 

Does Companion Mode count towards the participant limit?

Yes, Companion Mode connections and presentations each count towards the participant limit. You can check the current number of participants on the people icon at the bottom right of the meeting on a laptop or computer. 

Present and view presentation

  • 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 with meeting-room hardware or Nest Hub Max. Or, join the meeting with full audio and video (non-Companion Mode).
  • People list – People who present in Companion Mode appear twice on the People tab. This lets you pin or eject people and presentations independently.
  • View presentations – If there are two or more presentations in a meeting:
    • People on Companion Mode view the active presentation only.
    • If the active presenter stops presenting, other presenters need to resume their presentations for people on Companion Mode to view them.

Hosting

  • Host controls – You can use host controls to moderate meetings in Companion Mode. You can make laptop or computer, mobile or Companion Mode participants co-hosts, set up attendance tracking and end the call for all (including Companion Mode participants). You can also control the use of chat, screen sharing, video and audio. Learn more about host controls.
  • End 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.

Learn about known issues

Breakout rooms

If you're a host, you can:

  • Set up breakout sessions when you connect with Companion Mode
  • Assign people who are on Companion Mode to breakout sessions.

Important: People on 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 an option:

  • 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.

Tip: If you check in to a room and then join a breakout room, you must check in again in the breakout room. When you return to the main room, you must check in again.

Learn more about breakout rooms.

Third-party Chrome extensions

Some 3rd-party Chrome extensions cause unexpected problems in meetings. If you notice issues, try turning off third-party extensions. Learn more about third-party Chrome extensions.

Grid view

People who don't yet have Companion Mode view Companion Mode participants as tiles labelled Participant's name (Companion) in the participant grid.
For people who have Companion Mode, Companion tiles are hidden from the grid.

 

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