It's only 720p and around 15fps but real shallow dof, very little sensor noise, autofocus works. Well worth trying if you have a Sony camera from the last few years.
Sensor size and good optics still wins. Having said that,the effort and detail gone into this feature is very impressive, enjoyed the blog post. Also webassembly SIMD looks super cool, looking forward to a new class of webapps using wasm.
I ended up getting a $10 HDMI USB capture stick from Aliexpress. I get a perfect 1080p/60fps signal, and at least on Linux it worked out of the box with Zoom.
The only problem now is that most of my meetings start with "wow, why do you look like you're on TV?"
They are also available on Amazon under a bunch of different brands, e.g. https://www.amazon.com/LENCENT-1080p60fps-Definition-Acquisi...
It's recognized as UVC (USB Video Class) device. Can't say for sure if Chrome OS can handle those.
I'm using my old T1i which can be had for less than $50 these days, plus you can pick up a 18-55mm kit lens for like $20 and the video quality blows away any webcam, especially for the same price. Also recommend battery->power adapter.
The codec situation with h264/HEVC/vp9/AV1 software/hardware encoding is a mess. Hopefully we'll get wide hardware support for AV1, although it might take a while.
(I ended up having to buy a little logitech webcam, which has been fine, but being able to pick my lens etc is awesome!)
I also tried gPhoto2/ffmpeg and virtual cam driver with Nikon D5200 (USB) on Linux but I prefer the Redmi since I do not have a decent low light lens for my DSLR.
1/ Your internet connection, especially upload bandwidth and latency matter a lot.
2/ Zoom's desktop app performs very well, but its web version is atrocious. Not just because of the dark patterns they use to force you to install the desktop app, but also its performance is terrible compared to its desktop version, as well as worse than almost everything else. Unfortunately, I don't trust them and refuse to use their desktop app on anything but my iPad.
3/ Meet used to be bad like Zoom on web 6 months ago, but has improved a lot and is slowly approaching Zoom desktop in performance. I have noticed that Meet on my work GSuite calls at work perform much better than on my personal account. This might be explained by #1 above I.e. my family has worse internet connections than my coworkers, but I am not sure if all improvements have been rolled out to personal accounts.
I moved to a new house, and the quality of my video calls dropped dramatically. Constant freezing and dropouts. It was extremely frustrating to try to participate in a meeting. I could receive fine, but anytime I spoke out, I would drop out within minutes.
Speed tests showed plenty of bandwidth, but my modem statistics showed high upstream power levels, occasionally out of the allowed range, and lots of "uncorrectable" packets.
I finally got a Comcast technician in to look at it (yay for business-class support), and they replaced the cable from the pole all the way to the first splitter in the basement, and since then it's been flawless. 100/15 Megabit service has been totally adequate for our needs, so long as it's reliable and the latency is low enough.
It kills me that our city isn't putting in conduits or fiber while doing utility work, though. The whole time that was happening, there were gas contractors opening the street and running new supply lines to every house, but not putting in any extra conduits or dark fiber. The construction sounds were almost like being back in the office...
My mobile internet is really fucking good, and often outperforms my sodding wired connection
It grates me when people claim DSL/cable qualifies as sufficiently good broadband in the US because of the lack of upload bandwidth and slow latency (can add packet loss in here too). The situation is so bad that you can't even find how much upload bandwidth so called "broadband" cable ISPs offer.
The experience on symmetric fiber connections is noticeably improved, and we can have a house with a whole group of people streaming video up and down simultaneously without a hiccup. Such as in times of work from home and school from home.
For the last item, personal accounts (only?) default to send and receive video at lower resolution (360p). So if you meant that the quality is lower, you can set it on both sides to 720p.
Edit: I don’t think Meet remembers those settings though, so you have to do it every time (and show your family members how to do so).
As a legacy free GApps user it is even more confusing because the admin page gives me an option to default to higher quality video but that doesn't do anything.
Why does Google, with all the resources at its disposal, choose to cheap out like this when competitors in the video chat space (from tiny startups to gigantic corporation of similar size) have offered near native resolution video chat for ages?
Are they even _trying_ to compete?
Meet was much worse than Zoom, even when I take the bad web interface of Zoom into account.
I ain't a fan of either, though.
I refuse to install Zoom. They have removed the dark pattern, and the "join via browser" option is almost immediately available. If you have it installed, now is a good time to uninstall it.
In my experience, it doesn’t completely cover the background most of the time, and if you move at all, as you point out, it can’t keep up.
Kind of funny to see Google engineering blogging about it when it feels extremely half baked.
This makes me sad, because in all other areas, I think Meet excels well beyond the competition.
EDIT: removed my general sentiment on Google
I've always wondered what proportion of modern real-time video effects rely on ML vs. classical image processing; this not only answers that question, but provides details down to the level of model architecture and the final latency and IOU benchmarks.
Of course I'd be more interested to read how Zoom manages to do even better, but I'm not holding my breath for them to publish those details.
ML is a classical tool for image processing, what do you mean here?
is it _better_ than zoom tho? I my experience, I don't see much of an improvement worth switching.
Zoom is the verb now.
Zoom it's "Download this, install it, wait for it to come up...", and forget trying to get someone to use the web version.
Disclosure: I work in Google Cloud, but not in Meet.
You can also join by phone, at least in some circumstances.
You can't change the layout in browser though.
Background blur doesn't seem available in Firefox on Ubuntu unfortunately :(
The other thing I've noticed is the background blur absolutely annihilates my CPU. To the point where I would rather just turn off my camera if I don't want my background visible.
Google UX/UI team: Please fucking make the mute/unmute button visible at all times.
People in high paid position certainly want "has taste" and "knows what looks good" to be part of their self image. Many fails in design and architecture happen for that reason alone.
I then ended up programming and working in film sound, because very few people in both fields tell you what to do when they have no idea what's going on.
I'm guessing code peer-reviews aren't a think at your org.
Ironically forgetting that visual minimalism produced by hiding things isn’t really minimalism.
It would be like me throwing all my things in the garage and advertising my house as Spartan. No, it’s not, it’s a mess. The mess is just hidden until I need to do something.
If we want to give awards for this my vote would go to Apple. I find their products to be horrific when it comes to completely undiscoverable features. iOS is bad on its own but the Apple TV is a total train wreck. I couldn't get rid of that thing with its awful interface and remote fast enough.
Can we go to Windows 3.11 design please?
And sometimes it's great, because you get to focus on the content, and sometimes it's not, because you lose control. It's something that should be optional or configurable. It's great to have shortcuts for the most common commands (like space for pause in youtube), and I guess it would make a lot of sense if video conferencing tools also had such a shortcut for mute/unmute.
But again, give people more control over their UI. There are too many applications that mess this up one way or another.
Having to find the exact spot to hover your mouse is a bad UX
Just make it visible. It's supposed to be a tool, function over form.
Global hotkey would be nicer, I think.
This is true. I find Android UI so offensive that if I did not have iOS as an alternate I probably would carry a dumb phone and live like a monk. I can’t stand the miles of white space and brightly coloured tiny UI controls.
Evokes such a visceral reaction in me that even I am startled at times haha
Physical button to block the microphone, LED on the button itself and a tray icon with the microphone status displayed.
I used MS Teams and zoom and both are decent (ms teams works fine for school)
but it's insanely unbelievable that this kind of software lacks of features that gaming communities had probably 20 years ago
PUSH TO TALK is probably one of the most important features of any voice software. The lack of it is big WTF.
It gives you 100% control over when you're talking and you don't have to alt-tab between programs in order to "mute" yourself.
You can bind it to e.g MOUSE3 (scroll-push) and it works fine with other programs, games and stuff. Switching between muted/unmuted is different thing.
From somebody who uses/used ventrilo, mumble, teamspeak and nowadays discord for like last 12 years for hours per day, almost everyday.
That's not something doable today on the web for obvious security reasons, but it's possible for Discord that has a separate app, would be doable for Zoom too I guess.
In fact, now I think about it, this has happened many times over the years with traditional mouse drive interfaces too.
I'm sure some power users would like to shorten the 'reaction time delay' or even remove it entirely so I guess that should be an option as well.
There's nothing quite like watching a dialog box go flying by because you hit enter at the exact moment it popped up. What was it? What did it do? We'll never know!
The mute/unmute changes position and can be hidden in a top bar that slides out.
In some fullscreen situations there is no button to get out of fullscreen. Sometimes double-click works, sometimes it doesn't. Recently I could not even alt-tab away, basically my computer got 'locked' by zoom.
I really think there is a market for a physical video conference controller. If I could get a hefty slab of something with quality buttons to enable/disable video, push to talk/mute/unmute, bring to foreground, ‘on air’ light and end call, I’d easily pay $100 for it.
If you mean that you just want to mute/unmute a zoom session, then also yes - you configure the stream deck to output key press events so you'd program it to output the keyboard shortcuts that you want. Not sure if Zoom has separate mute/unmute shortcuts and if you change settings with the regular keyboard/mouse you might get the display state of the stream deck out of sync with the actual state of the software, that would probably be finicky and/or a lot of work to solve.
I'm still tweaking my setup but using this piece of kit with a good quality webcam, a Blue Yeti mic on an arm, and OBS, being able to control Zoom/MS Teams/Skype in a uniform way, having ultimate control over what part the desktop I share, how I pre-process audio, being able to show my desktop with myself in the corner, ... is already so much better than the clunky default experiences of each of these video conferencing tools. It's like programming with vim - yes I spend an inordinate amount of time 20+ years ago getting proficient with it, but using it just feels like an extension of my brain, like using a Hilti drill hammer vs using a bargain bin Chinese piece of junk.
I hadn't checked for shortcuts yet!
On my install it turns out to be alt + a.
I bet there is similar hardware the works with Zoom.
Googler, opinions my own.
The best conferencing solutions I’ve used to shame those not using video
Not that you should have to install an extension to get basic UX
I've been using this extension: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/google-meet-push-t...
But as the recent Google Icon kerfuffle, UI/UX is not their strength (probably because of opinionated technical people that think you need to A/B shades of blue)
Which is pretty annoying, because the mute button is about the most important button in a videoconferencing tool, and I want to have it under a single keypress, so it can be used effortlessly, with my left hand (the same that operates Alt+Tab, while my right hand is on the mouse, scrolling ... well, meeting agenda, let's say).
I'd fix that for myself with AutoHotkey, but I can't, because Teams is just another Electron app, so I can't just look at which UI component has the focus to create a rule, "if focused on Teams video call and not its chat, rebind M to Ctrl+Shift+M".
One of the countless reasons I hate it when people do custom UI, instead of using OS-provided controls.
Perhaps I'm missing something obvious (or a Chrome plugin that will allow me to mute based on the page URL rather than site). In the unlikely event that a Googler is reading this I'm not asking for yet another product or complicated new piece of functionality aimed at this specific use case. Just a mute button for audio. Thanks!
No, vastly different products. Hangouts is the legacy thing and never worked quite right for me. Meet is much better.
It works for me for Chromium on Ubuntu.
It renders a big cross through the microphone when muted.
Simple, yet insanely effective UI (#).
Best thing ever.
#) Especially when compared to the mess that is Google Meet. My favourite "feature" of theirs is how when someone is presenting, it's impossible to view the presentation as just another stream - no they have to make it dominate everything, meaning it's so hard to see the other team members.
And it can be extremely hard to see who's talking when viewing a lot of cameras at the same time. And for whatever reason the quality turns to a blurry mess a far cry from 720p just way too often. (I have fibre internet).
And if you need minimalism, offer a toggle for that. But I think most people should have it forced on them, would save anyone a lot of trouble -- just think about all the aggregate time lost talking into a muted mike by all users.
I did donate a contribution to say thank you.
I'm a 28 yr old software developer.
But you will hit a dog probably, because the steering wheel suddenly blocks your view too.
When I leave a meeting, can you please stop asking me for feedback every time and just take me back to the main meet screen?
It would be so easy just to put that small dialogue box on the main meet screen rather than prompt me to click the button to return.
Doesn't excuse the UI, but at least this lets you avoid using it!
I bought an external microphone for my laptop with a hardware mute button.
I still can't stand the bottom popping up and down and not being able to tell if I'm muted.