Google Meet: Practical Guide for Blind People

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In a previous article entitled “Zoom Guide for the Blind,” we have already looked at another video call and conference application. Today, we invite you to experience Google Meet through the eyes of a blind person, and will look at how another popular video conferencing service offers accessibility and comfort for visually impaired users, as well as provide a practical guide on how to use all its features.

Getting Started with Google Meet

Important: Google Meet is only available for Windows computers and runs in Google Chrome browser, version 73 or newer.

Google Meet provides a great way to host online meetings and conferences or socialize with colleagues and friends. To get the most out of this tool on your Windows operating system, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Registration and Setup

1.1 Google Account:

  • A Google account is required to use Google Meet. If you do not have one, you can create it on the official Google website.

1.2 Google Chrome installation:

  • Google Meet can be used in Opera, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, or Microsoft Edge web browsers, but it works best in its native Chrome. You can only download and install it from the official Google Chrome website.

Step 2: Signing In with Your Google Account

2.1 Launch Google Chrome:

  • Once Google Chrome is installed, it will automatically appear as a shortcut on your desktop. You can also find it from the Start menu or through Windows search. Activate the Google Chrome shortcut with the “Enter” key to launch the browser.

2.2 Sign in to your Google account:

Step 3: Working with Google Meet

3.1 Create a new meetup:

  • On the Google Meet homepage, activate the “New Meeting” button by pressing the “Enter” key.

On the Google Meet homepage, there are several options for creating a new meeting:

  1. “Create a Meeting”: This option allows you to create a meeting link that can then be sent out to intended participants. To join the meeting, participants must paste this link into their browser’s address bar or into the “Enter Meet Code or Link” field, then click “Join”;
  2. “Start an Instant Meeting”: This option is designed to instantly start a meeting with automatic connection. Simply activate this option and a meeting will be created that you will be automatically taken to. This is handy if you need to start a meeting quickly without specifying any additional settings;
  3. “Schedule in Google Calendar”: This option is related to using Google Calendar to create a corresponding event when the meeting will take place. Here you specify session name, day and time of the meeting, event notification time, attendees, and other settings. All video meeting participants will receive a notification once the event is created. This method is handy if you need to integrate meetings with your calendar and manage them in the context of your schedule.

Each of these options provides different levels of flexibility and control over creating and managing meetings in Google Meet, depending on your needs.

3.2 Joining a Meetup:

Using the meetup code or meetup link received from the organizers by any method, paste it on the Google Meet page and click “Join.” In case of a link, you can simply click it and then click “Join” as well.

Step 4: Setting Up Audio and Video

4.1 Check your audio and video feed:

  • Before joining a meeting, make sure your microphone and camera are working correctly by using the built-in and always available testing tools.

4.2 Select I/O devices:

Using the “B” key to navigate through the buttons on the Google Meet page, find and activate the “Settings” button by pressing the “Space” key.

Pressing the “C” key will take you to microphone and speakers selection. To activate it and select the required devices from the list, use the “Spacebar” key again.

Using the  ” ’ ” (apostrophe) or “C” key, locate the “Video” tab and, similarly to the audio devices selection, select your preferred webcam.

Once satisfied with your device selection, quickly go to the very top of the page with the “Ctrl + “Home” key combination and activate the “Close” button to exit the settings menu.

Step 5: Additional Tools

5.1 Meeting Options:

Feel free to explore the available meeting options, such as:

  • Enable/Disable Microphone (Ctrl + D);
  • Enable/Disable Camera (Ctrl + E);
  • Enable/Disable Subtitles (C) — a toggle button that I have not hot-keyed for some reason;
  • “Send Response” — a toggle button with different pre-made responses;
  • “Start Showing” — an on/off toggle for screen demo that allows sharing one of your already open tabs in Google Chrome, a new tab, or your entire screen;
  •  “Raise Your Hand” (Ctrl + Alt + H) — a button, which allows you to notify the moderator that you have something to say;
  • “Leave Video Meeting” — a button to exit the current meeting or close it, if you are the organizer;
  • “Meeting Info” — a radio button that displays the meeting link and calendar files, if any;
  •  “Show All” — a toggle button that allows you to add new as well as view and manage the already connected participants;
  •  “Start Chat with All Participants” — a button that opens the correspondence panel with all current meetup participants;
  •  “Meeting Controls” — a toggle button associated with additional settings that can only be used by meetup organizers.

5.2 Extensions and add-ons:

  • You may also consider installing Google Meet add-ons and extensions to access more advanced features and integrations. To do so, use the “Actions” radio button.

Now you are ready to use Google Meet on your Windows device, enjoying the convenience of online meetings with this powerful tool.

The Google Meet workspace is intuitive and user-friendly due to its simplicity. All elements are signed and work as they should. My experience with Google Meet has been nothing but positive and, what is more, I have not even felt the urge to pick on anything.

To conclude our practical guide, I want to emphasize Google Meet’s high level of accessibility for the blind. It meets all the necessary accessibility requirements, providing this portion of its user base the opportunity to fully participate in the modern world of online meetings.

The steps covered to install and configure the application are fully accessible to the blind without third-party help.

We hope that this guide will become an indispensable assistant for all those who aspire to use Google Meet despite their limited vision.