It can be hard to stay connected with family and friends, especially if they live in another city or another state. Fortunately, applications like Google Meet make it possible to see and talk to one another at any time of the day. At Bethesda Gardens Monument in Monument, Colorado, we offer free Wi-Fi for easy access to your loved ones.
Google Meet is a free application that allows up to 100 people to gather online and talk to each other in a hosted room. Unlike applications like Instagram where you share small video clips and pictures, Google Meet can make you feel like you're in the same room. The app started as a business tool that was available only to enterprise customers or managers who needed to get together to discuss product development or other stages of business. Google opened up the application to include anyone with a Google account, which means schools, church groups, families and friends can now meet for up to 60 minutes per meeting. It’s a safe way to stay in touch with loved ones without leaving the privacy of your own living space. It’s ideal for those who live far away from family because you can see each other as often as time permits.
Seniors who want to chat with family and friends need a reliable internet connection, a computer, cell phone or tablet and either the Google app or a modern web browser. The application is free to use, unless you want more advanced features, like 24-hour meetings, dial-in phone numbers, noise cancelation and 24/7 online support. Advanced features also make it possible to record your meetings for easy access later, and you can pay for increased Google Drive storage online so you have a secure place to store memories of important conversations.
There are two ways to use Google Meet. If you are accessing the application from a computer or a web browser, simply log into your Google account. On the left-hand side of your Gmail account there is a video camera icon that lets you create or join a meeting. If you create a meeting, it will give you the option to send invites to family and friends. Then, you simply join the meeting. If you are joining an existing meeting that another family member started, you don’t have to have a Google account. Just click on the shared link, and it will add you to the hosted room. By using a browser, there isn’t any software or additional programs to install.
The second way to use Google Meet is by downloading the Meet application from Google Play or the App Store. Once downloaded, the application will ask you to sign into your Google account. You will also need to give the application access to your camera and your microphone. It will also ask you if you want to accept notifications, which lets you get notifications from family and friends every time they try to contact you through Google Meet.
There are a variety of ways to make Google Meet, and video chats in general, more fun and engaging. Here's how you can help encourage everyone to stay in contact with one another more often:
• Pay attention to the lighting in the room. Face a good light source, so your face is well lit and there aren’t any shadows restricting others' views. If your light source is behind you, it can cause glares and make it difficult for others to see you.
• Place your camera just slightly above eye level. This will make others feel like they are looking directly at you instead of looking up or down to you. Your camera should also be on a steady surface. This is easy with a computer, but with your phone try using a tripod or prop the phone on a solid surface.
• Choose an interesting background. Instead of calling from the same room, consider going outside to the garden or patio. At the very least, choose a room where there isn’t a lot of other activities or one where there will be a lot of other noise that can make it difficult for you to hear your friends or for them to hear you. With Google Meet, you also have the ability to change your background by blurring it slightly or heavily to help make it easier for the meeting participants to focus solely on you. Noise-canceling headphones may also help you if you have a hard time hearing or if you can’t avoid chatting with others in the same room.
• Use a reliable internet connection. Avoid going in and out of the conversation by choosing the best internet connection possible. A wired connection is best for your computer, especially in an area where many people access the network at one time. For your phone or tablet, choose an area where you get a strong connection.
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