• Grow CPA

Why we use Google Meets

Fun fact: We at Grow were social distancing before it was cool.

It’s true. Since the first days of Grow, we’ve been working from home in our own remote offices, using video conferencing daily. This allows us to meet whenever we need to - whether it’s after putting the kids to bed, during the day, or a quick Sunday night meeting to make sure everyone is on the same page for the week.

A common accounting adage goes, “Hindsight does not mean that a prior estimate was incorrect.”

We told you a few weeks ago that our video conference service of choice was Google Meet. When we launched Grow over a year ago we, in fact, chose to use Zoom as our primary platform for meetings and screen sharing. We liked that we could record our meetings to provide to clients, it allowed us to schedule meetings easily and seemed like it met our needs for internet safety. And yet, as Zoom became more popular, instances of data insecurity became known, and even ultimately we experienced this for ourselves. During a zoom call, a message popped up saying “Zoom detected interference and as a precaution has muted our call”. After that we felt that Zoom no longer meets our needs for top of the line security.

And so after further research, we as a firm settled on Google Meet. We find it reassuring to know that Google Meet is subject to the same privacy commitments and data protection as the rest of the G-suite products. Google Meet also boasts of it’s default setting to encrypt data in transit, which means we feel secure knowing that our data is protected at all times for our clients’ safety.

In addition Google Meet has beautifully curated backgrounds, and easy to use controls. With all of this in mind it was an easy decision to migrate our team to Meet and we’ve spent the last 6 weeks mastering tips to help us stay efficient. Here are some of our favourites.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Because really who doesn’t love a shortcut?

  • Turn your camera on or off: Ctrl+E

  • Mute or unmute your microphone: Ctrl+D

  • Announce who is currently speaking: Shift+Ctrl+Alt+a then s

  • Announce current information about the room: Shift+Ctrl+Alt+a then i

Allow Meet Notifications in Chrome

This allows us to get notifications whenever a colleague wants a quick chat without having to have another app open.

  1. On your computer, open Chrome.

  2. At the top right, click More Settings.

  3. Under "Privacy and security," click Site settings.

  4. Click Notifications.

  5. Select the Meet or Chat entry and click More Allow.

Access Files Easily

Google Meet does allow screen sharing but sometimes it makes more sense for everyone involved to have their own copy of the file open. The initial work for this tip is done when you set up the meeting - meetings are easily set up with Google Calendar, - and attach any relevant documents to the calendar item. Then while in your meeting, all participants can access the files you attached within your calendar.

  1. Click on the meeting tile in the bottom left-hand side

  2. Click on the tab to the right > Attachments

  3. Click on the link attachments to open up your files

There is simply no replacement for a face to face meeting, but a video conferencing is a very close second. You simply can not get the same benefit out of a purely audio call. Seeing your client or colleagues facial expressions, knowing when to pause, listen or prompt to keep the conversation going is incredibly important. Our first time diving into video conferencing technology was admittedly uncomfortable, but with time it gets a lot easier. With Google Meets your video is just a tiny 1 x 1 inch screen that sits in the top corner, so it allows you focus your attention on your audience and not on how bad your hair looks three months into quarantine.

That’s our summary of Google Meets, we use lots of great apps in our business. For a round up of these see our post Going Virtual.