Google Support just pulled a "this is not a bug, it's a feature" moment on me
As you might know, I am preparing a new podcast, and for that I am trying different video call solutions. I stumbled upon Google Meet while reviewing my Google One premium benefits. This premium tier was announced back in July 2022 in Google’s blog.
So I went to My Benefits section to check whether I could use the recording feature for my podcast.
This is what I see:
If I go to the Premium video calling features, this is what I get:
Now, to be absolutely sure that I can indeed record calls, I have also visited a page called Use Google Workspace premium features - List of features.
There, I can see this:
So, based on all the information I am reading here, it seems I can be 100% sure that I can record calls, right?
Not so fast. Yes, I can record calls. And they show up in my Google Drive, in a folder called Meet Recordings. Like this:
I made a couple of test calls before my first scheduled podcast recording session using Google Meet. In the resulting recordings, I could see my camera feed, hear the audio perfectly, and I even got very accurate captions. Cool!
But! Then me and my guest started our scheduled call, I told him that I was going to hit the “Start Recording” button. I did, we had our 30 minutes chat, we could see and hear each other perfectly at all times… But then, after finishing the call, I went to check the recording.
This is what I get instead of my camera’s video feed
This is what I get instead of my guest’s video feed
I’ve spent 2 hours chatting with Google One support, and while doing that, I recorded a couple of short calls to show the support agent:
- #1 The first call is a scheduled Google Meet call. I invite my wife to a call through a calendar event, and when she joins, I hit the Start Recording button.
- #2 The second call is a meeting that I create from the Google Meet home screen. And then once I have started that meeting, I add my wife and she gets an email to join the meeting. She does, and I start recording.
Well, in case number one, the recording does not show the camera feed of neither of us. It just shows or avatars (our Google profile picture). The audio is fine, and the captions are there. I tried another call with no captions, same outcome.
Now, here’s the interesting part: the recording of the second call, that I initiated from the homepage and not from a scheduled event, was fine and it included the video feed for both our cameras.
I tried to explain this to the support agents, and I got passed around from Google One to Google Meet support, then back to Google One. In the end, after checking to “higher support”, this is what I got:
This is the link she refers to:
Here’s the article link for your reference https://support.google.com/meet/answer/9302870?hl=en&co=GENIE.Platform%3DAndroid But it does not give you an exact words that you are able or unable to start video recording but I confirmed it to our higher support and they confirm that is not currently supported for scheduled calls in Google Meet.
Google Support is quite poor
I think she made up that answer. She is basically saying “it’s not a bug, it’s a feature”. Bullshit. Where does it say that you can’t record scheduled calls because it’s not supported? What difference does it make if a call is scheduled or if it’s spontaneous? Why would it discriminate one against the other? Also, she says “video recording in scheduled calls are not yet available feature in Google Meet”. But it is! I can record the call. I just don’t see the camera feed, but all the UI to record the call is there. If recording a scheduled call is “not yet supported”, why do I have this nice button:
This is clearly a bug, and she didn’t provide any other options other than this:
We can assure you that our specialists take our customers’ feedback very seriously.
Well, I call that bullshit again. If it’s not supported, it should be explained in the Benefits page, because otherwise you’re lying to paying customers. Just say it’s temporarily not available but they’re working on it, and I would be fine. I can just create scheduled events without a Google Meet call link, and I’ll add the person manually as a workaround. But I have used a very busy person’s time to record a call where the video is not showing. And worst of all: I thought choosing Google and their products for my project was a warrantee that everything would work as expected.
I am a very disappointed customer now, not only because of the incident with the missing video, but because when I went to get help/support, I got a very lame excuse. An excuse that, if it’s actually correct, means that I was lied to. I was lured into buying a premium subscription without having such an important piece of information that makes a big difference.