Google announces new Hangouts Meet hardware, wider Jamboard availability, and G Suite core service addition
Google announced a number of changes to its enterprise hardware lineup today: an updated Hangouts Meet conference hardware set for larger rooms, wider distribution and new AI-assisted functionality for its interactive whiteboard-like Jamboard device, and the inclusion of the Jamboard app as a core service in the G Suite.
In its neverending quest to create a cohesive messaging ecosystem, Google decided some time ago that its Hangouts platform was to serve primarily as an enterprise product. To that end, last year, it introduced the Hangouts Meet conference kit: a Chrome-powered affair aimed at businesses to facilitate teleconferencing via the company's Hangouts Meet software. Google announced today the product is receiving a refresh by way of a new camera.
The updated kit, whose first iteration went on sale last November, includes an Asus Chromebox 2 with a fifth-gen Intel Core i7 processor; a high-performance speaker/microphone combo (which Google calls a "speakermic"); a motorized 1080p camera with 10x optical zoom; and a 10.1-inch touch display to control it all. This new setup runs $2,549 with the required software license and is available for pre-order now. (Last year's model, which includes a stationary, wide-angle, 4k camera, is still available and costs $550 less.)
Google also announced today that the company's interactive, whiteboard-style Jamboard device, previously only available in North America and the United Kingdom, will be available in eight additional European countries starting next month:
- Republic of Ireland
- The Netherlands
Jamboard is also being updated with AI-assisted drawing functionality called AutoDraw, which recognizes sketches and pairs them with appropriate images (a concept that may look familiar to anyone who fooled around with Google's "Quick, Draw!" experiment in 2016), and the Jamboard app is making its way into the G Suite's core services.