Years ago, Google Meet introduced a “Raise Your Hand” feature to make large video meetings more manageable. It’s a great feature, but some people have trouble finding the hand-raise button among Google Meet’s smorgasbord of unlabeled controls. Now, Google Meet is introducing an intuitive hand-raising gesture for Workspace and Education users.
The Google Meet hand-raising gesture is super simple. You raise a hand to your webcam, and a small progress bar will appear on-screen. This progress bar gives you the opportunity to cancel the gesture—you must hold your hand in place for a few seconds to fill the progress bar and trigger the hand-raising function. Once you complete the gesture, the active speaker will be notified that your hand is raised, and it’s up to them to respond appropriately.
You can’t raise your hand above your head, though. For gesture detection to work, your hand must be within your webcam’s line of sight. In a demonstration provided by Google (seen below), a meeting attendee flashes the palm of their hand to trigger the hand-raising gesture. It’s a bit silly and Spock-like, but it gets the job done, and it may be easier than reaching for your mouse.
Because this gesture can be triggered by accident, it is disabled by default. You can enable the hand-raising gesture by entering Google Meet’s “More Options” menu, selecting “Reactions,” and toggling “Hand Raise Gesture.” These settings can only be accessed while you are actively attending a meeting. The gesture is temporarily disabled when you are the active speaker in Google Meet, which is to prevent unintentional disturbances for those who “talk with their hands.”
There’s just one problem with this feature. When you raise your hand in Google Meet, other attendees are shown a permanent notification, not a temporary one. You must manually press the “lower your hand” button to clear the notification from everybody’s screens. Today’s update introduces a hand-raising gesture, but there isn’t a hand-lowering gesture, so you’re still subjected to Google’s mess of buttons and other controls.
The new hand-raising gesture is currently rolling out to Google Workspace and Education users in Rapid Release domains. Those in Scheduled Release domains will receive this feature between the dates of November 28th and December 13th. Unfortunately, Google’s announcement makes no mention of personal accounts.