In April 2022, Google added the ability to: join a conversation from Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Select the Google Meet icon in the upper-right corner of your document in Chrome on a computer to join or start a Meet session. When you start a session this way, Meet starts in a side panel to the right of your document.
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You might think of this feature as one-tab, document-first video conferencing. One tab, since you only need one Chrome browser tab for both your document and Meet session instead of two tabs (one for Meet and one for a Docs, Sheets, or Slides file) to manage or organize. And document-centric video conferencing, as your document takes up most of the display space, with Meet positioned to the side.
As always, you choose whether your Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides file is shared or not. When you’re private, use your document the way you want to: rely on it as a reference, annotate, or make changes to your liking. When shared, your collaborators can view, comment on, or edit the document while Meet participants discuss issues.
In addition, any time you have a Google Meet session active, you can open a Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides file, then select the Meet icon in the document and choose “Call the call here.” This allows you to switch from a standard Google Meet session (for example, video-focused) to one where both your document and your active Meet session are displayed together on one tab.
The following steps describe how to use Google Meet in Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides in Chrome on a computer.
Join or start a meeting from Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides
The Google Meet icon appears in the upper-right corner of Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides on the web, as shown in Image A† If you’ve opened a new document and you’re not already in a Google Meet session, select it to see three options.
Upcoming Google Calendar events that contain a Google Meet link appear first. Select a meeting from the list and the system will provide a preview of video from your webcam along with options to join the conversation or just present this tab.
You can also select Start a new meeting to start a new Google Meet session. Your session starts in a side panel, along with the meeting link (in the middle of the panel) and various session settings and controls (at the bottom of the panel). Copy the link to share it with other people via Google Chat, Gmail, or Google Chat Spaces.
Use the third option, Use a meeting code, to enter a Google Meet session code. For example, you can do this if you want to join a session while in a conference room with an existing Google Meet session active, but to which you were not initially invited.
Share the link or present this tab from a Google Meet session in the side panel
With your Google Meet session active in a side panel, you have at least two ways to give meeting participants access to the open Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides file: Share the link or Present this tab.
To collaborate on a document, choose “Share the link” and the system will generate a “Let’s work on this document together” message during the session, followed by the Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides link, as shown in Figure B† Select the send icon to share the message with the people in your meeting. You may need to adjust the document sharing settings to ensure that attendees have access. (See Share Google Docs, Sheets and Slides for detailed instructions on how to set up the share.)
Choose the Present this tab (Figure B, icon at the bottom right) to view the document in a separate window in the Google Meet session. Unlike the Share the Link option, which gives access to the actual document, the Present this Tab feature simply displays your document in the Google Meet session and does not give meeting participants access to the document.
Move a Meet session between three view options
You can move your Meet session to three different display configurations. First, Google Meet highlights your document in the side panel, while displaying video, chat, and Meet controls at the same time. Second, a picture-in-document option minimizes Meet to a small video window overlay. (Hover your cursor over the video image and select it to reposition the video in the side panel.) Third, the default Meet option returns to a session that fills an entire tab, without the Meet experience in the side panel. You can go to any of these view options during a meeting.
Two options appear as icons in the upper-right corner of the Google Meet side panel, as shown in Figure C† The icon with an arrow pointing to the corner provides the option to move the Meet session to a separate tab. This is useful if you no longer want to reference a document and want a standard Google Meet experience. The other icon, with a small box inside a larger box, removes Google Meet from the side panel and places the video as an overlay on your document.
The third option isn’t necessarily obvious, but it can be quite useful. If you have a Google Meet session active in Chrome, in another tab, open an item in Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides, then select the Google Meet icon in the top-right corner (as you would to create a Meet- session from Docs, Sheets, or Slides). Since the system detects that there is an active Google Meet session, select the Bring the call here option as shown in Figure Dto move the active Meet call to the side panel of your document.
What is your experience?
For modern meetings, the ability to add a video conference to a document is just as important as the ability to print when meeting materials were mostly paper. I really hope that Google will integrate video conferencing capabilities alongside documents in all Workspace apps, including Google Jamboard, Google Drawings, Google Forms, and Google Sites.
How did you feel about using Google Meet in the side panel of a Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides file? Have you mainly used the feature to continue working on a file privately during a meeting? Or did you collaborate with colleagues both in a document and via video? How often do you switch Meet from the side panel to Picture-in-Picture to a full browser tab? Let me know how you use documents in addition to video conferencing, with a comment below or on Twitter (@awolber†