Google’s Meet videoconferencing service is getting breakout rooms, but they’ll only be available to G Suite Enterprise for Education customers at first, according to a Google blog post (via 9to5Google). With the feature, teachers and educators will be able to break their classes into smaller groups for things like projects or focused discussions.
Google will let you make up to 100 breakout rooms in a single call. Once you’ve decided how many breakout rooms you want, Google will randomly group up the people on the call into rooms, but moderators can manually add people to other rooms if they want. Meeting moderators can also hop between rooms to check in on groups.
If breakout rooms are something you might want to try out, but you aren’t an Enterprise for Education customer, you might be able to use them sometime soon — the feature will be coming to other G Suite and Google Workspace editions “later this year,” according to Google. (Google Workspace, if you haven’t heard, is Google’s recent rebranding of G Suite, though the education and nonprofit tiers are keeping the G Suite branding for now.)
Videoconferencing rival Zoom already offers breakout rooms to all users (and has since 2015), so Google is playing catch-up with this feature. Zoom users can only split up into 50 different rooms, though, which is half of the 100 possible rooms offered by Google Meet.
Google Meet has steadily added features over the course of this year to compete with Zoom and other videoconferencing services as usage of those tools has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic.