Google is looking to open the door wider to the enterprise, launching a videoconferencing tool designed to make it easier and cheaper to have face-to-face meetings with far-flung coworkers.
The new meeting tool also could help push Google further into the enterprise, as well as create new interest in Google+ Hangouts.
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On Thursday, Google announced that it's releasing a new Chromebox that brings Google+ Hangouts together with enterprise-aimed Google Apps, to make it easier for companies to have high-definition video meetings.
"The best meetings are face-to-face," wrote Caesar Sengupta, Google's vice president of product management, in a blog post. "But these days, we often connect with each other from far-flung locations, coordinating time zones and dialing into conference calls from our phones. Meetings need to catch up with the way we work -- they need to be face-to-face, easier to join, and available from anywhere and any device."
Google wants to help companies do that with Chromebox. Much like with the company's office-focused, cloud-based Google Apps, they're also hoping to work their way into the enterprise.
"I would think the enterprise is an important market as Google is still trying to get in there," said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research. "Since they have Google Docs, I can see that Chromebox would help that push [into the enterprise], as well."
According to Google, Chromebox for meetings comes with an Intel Core i7 processor, a high-definition camera, a combined microphone and speaker unit, and a remote control. Up to 15 people can join the video meeting from other conference rooms, via their laptops, tablets, or smartphones.
Those who need to be in the meeting but don't have Chromebox for meetings can still join as long as they have a Gmail account. Employees using meeting rooms that have other videoconferencing systems can join in using a tool from Vidyo.
Participants can call into the meeting using a conference call number from UberConference.