How to Annotate Discussions Using Google Meet Virtual Whiteboard

Google Meet’s virtual whiteboard feature allows meeting participants to collaborate in real-time, similar to an in-person whiteboard. This powerful tool facilitates brainstorming, presentations, teaching, and more.

Overview of Google Meet Virtual Whiteboard

The virtual whiteboard in Google Meet is powered by Jamboard, Google’s digital interactive whiteboard. To access it:

  • Join a Google Meet video call on a laptop or desktop (not available on mobile devices).
  • Click on “Activities” > “Whiteboarding” at the bottom right of the Meet screen.
  • Select “Start a new Jamboard” or “Choose from Drive” to open an existing Jamboard.

A new tab with the Jamboard whiteboard will open. Anything drawn or written on the Jamboard will instantly appear to all meeting participants.

Key Features

The Jamboard offers similar functionality as a physical whiteboard, plus added digital features:

  • Real-time collaboration: All participants can draw, write, erase, and edit elements on the board simultaneously.
  • Rich media integration: Insert images, videos, shapes, Google Drive documents, and more onto the board.
  • Touch capability: Use your mouse/trackpad or touchscreen to draw with a pen or highlighter, erase with your finger, and more.
  • Save to Drive: Jamboards are automatically saved to Google Drive for future access.

Annotating Shared Screens

The Jamboard is great for interactive sessions. But what if you want to annotate over a shared screen?

There are Chrome extensions like Annotate Meet and Google Meet Enhancement Suite that add screen annotation capabilities:

  • The meeting host shares their screen in Meet.
  • Meeting participants click the extension icon to open annotation tools.
  • Draw, type, or highlight elements directly on the shared screen, visible to all participants.

These tools are helpful for presentations, document collaboration, teaching concepts, and tech support.

Best Practices for Using the Virtual Whiteboard

Here are some tips to maximize the effectiveness of Google Meet’s whiteboard feature:

1. Set Expectations Upfront

Before starting the Jamboard or screen annotations, explain to participants how the tools work and your expectations around usage. For example:

  • Who can draw/edit at any time vs. taking turns
  • Using different colors to distinguish contributors
  • Raising hands before speaking to prevent talking over each other

2. Prepare Materials in Advance

If using a Jamboard for a presentation, have images, videos, and slides ready to insert. For document annotation, have files open beforehand. This saves time during the meeting.

3. Use Annotations Strategically

  • Draw attention to important points in a shared screen or document by highlighting, circling, or using arrows.
  • Use annotations to give live feedback or edits during document collaboration.
  • Leverage colors and text to organize ideas as they emerge in a brainstorm.

4. Monitor Participation

As the host, keep an eye on the Jamboard or annotated screen to make sure contributors stay on track. Gently redirect if needed, and try to involve quieter participants.

5. Save and Share Content Afterwards

Jamboards and annotated screens are automatically saved to Drive. Share saved files with meeting participants afterwards so ideas don’t get lost.

Real-World Applications

Google Meet’s annotation and whiteboard capabilities unlock many useful applications:

Brainstorming Sessions

Visualize ideas as they flow using the infinite Jamboard canvas. Everyone can contribute organically. Great for ideation phases of projects.

Interactive Presentations

Annnotate over presentation slides to emphasize key points. Or use the Jamboard as a giant virtual slide deck, inserting slides and media.

Remote Teaching

Teachers can circulate virtual classrooms to monitor and assist students. Annotate over student work to provide live feedback.

Design Collaboration

Annotate over design mockups, prototypes, or specs to suggest revisions in real-time during meetings.

Troubleshooting/IT Support

Technicians can visually guide users through technical issues by annotating over their screens.


Google Meet’s annotation tools facilitate engaging meetings with remote teams. The infinite Jamboard empowers collaborative ideation, while screen annotation allows interactive presentations, teaching, and document collaboration.

With some preparation and practice, any team can benefit from these features to work better together, even when physically apart.