Bad video call quality? Google's new tool could help you work out what's going wrong

Google's new tools let Meet users see when local conditions are causing the Meet app not to perform as expected.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Google is rolling out new a troubleshooting tool for Google Meet that gives users better visibility into why their local setup may be delivering a poor audio or video experience. 

The new tool includes a system load page showing CPU usage and another page showing network stability. The new Troubleshooting and Help window is available in the three-dot menu. 

The window shows time segments when a local environment probably affects call quality as well as suggestions to improve call performance. It also offers real-time feedback on the effect of actions taken to improve network connectivity or processing load, as well as tips for performing tasks like presenting content and recording meetings. 

SEE: Top 100+ tips for telecommuters and managers (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

These features should be helpful for users still navigating all the new video and call-conferencing tools available to them, which likely involve Microsoft Teams and Zoom too, each of which have their own idiosyncrasies. 

Google explains that Meet attempts to automatically optimize a call or video meeting given network and processing constraints. It works well unless those resources are over-burdened.    

"Meet shares processing power and network connections with all other applications and browser tabs running on a computer," Google explains. 

"When the system is overusing its processing power or suffering from a bad network connection, Meet will try to adjust and maintain performance while consuming less resources. Some of those adjustments are less visible, but if resource shortages are severe or persistent, users may notice blurry video, stuttering audio, or other issues."

SEE: WFH and burnout: How to be a better boss to remote workers

The troubleshooting suggestions might help reduce user frustration and possibly cut the number of calls to support. For example, a general tip tells the user to close browser tabs and other apps if the CPU is being overworked. It also suggests moving closer to a router to improve the Wi-Fi connection.    

The troubleshooting feature isn't intended for users of the free version of Meet. It is, however, rolling out gradually from today for users on Google Workspace Essentials, Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, and Enterprise Plus, as well as G Suite Basic, Business, Education, Enterprise for Education, and Nonprofits customers.  

Editorial standards