Google Meet will now let you use custom backgrounds on video calls

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Google is introducing custom backgrounds for its Meet videoconferencing platform, the company announced in a blog post. If you use Meet in Google’s Chrome browser you should be able to access the feature in Chrome OS as well as on Windows and Mac laptops and desktops. The feature is “coming soon” to mobile, Google says. There’s no browser extension needed to activate custom backgrounds; you should be able to add a background image from your own photo collection or from a library of images provided by Google that includes landscapes, abstract art and (for some reason) offices. It may take up to a week before all Google Meet users can access the new custom background option, the company says. Rival videoconferencing services Microsoft Teams and Zoom both already allow the use of custom images for meeting backgrounds. The three have been adding new features as more people depend on video calls working and schooling from home during the pandemic; in recent months Meet added a blur effect for meeting backgrounds, and introducing real-time captioning, low-light mode, hand-raising and a tile view (the giant Brady Bunch screen) that displays up to 49 people.

Facebook is testing the dark mode for iOS and Android

Facebook is publicly testing a dark mode for its iOS and Android apps. The new option for the social network's mobile apps was unveiled in a tweet by app researcher Jane Manchun Wong, who shared a video made in collaboration with Facebook. Facebook already offers a dark mode option for the desktop version of its social network, and several of the company's other mobile apps – including WhatsApp and Messenger – also already have dark mode. In addition to appealing to people who enjoy a darker background, dark mode is often credited with helping save battery life and reducing eye strain when people use devices in a dim environment. "We know people have been asking for dark mode, and they won't have to wait much longer," said a spokesperson for Facebook. "People will start to see the option in their Facebook app settings as we roll it out globally over the next few weeks."