Google Does Meetings with New Chromebox

Google already has applied its innovative technology and intuitive designs to smartphones, social media and laptops. Now, it’s applying them to meetings: The Internet giant last week introduced Chromebox for Meetings, a videoconferencing tool modeled off of its “Chrome” family of products, which already includes the Chrome web browser, Chromebook laptop and Chromecast digital media player.

“The best meetings are face-to-face — we can brainstorm openly, collaborate closely and make faster decisions. But these days, we often connect with each other from far-flung locations, coordinating time zones and dialing into conference calls from our phones,” reads a post on the Official Google Blog. “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. Starting today, they can be: Any company can upgrade their meeting rooms with a new Chromebox, built on the Chrome principles of speed, simplicity and security.”

Chromebox for Meetings combines Google+ Hangouts and Google Apps in a single device that includes a high-definition camera, a combined microphone and speaker unit, and a remote control. A single Chromebox can host meeting participants from up to 15 different locations, who can log in from other conference rooms, their laptops, tablets or smartphones.

Anyone who doesn’t have a Chromebox — a client, for instance — can join a meeting with just Gmail account; through their existing videoconferencing system, using a new integration tool from Vidyo; or by phone, using a conference call number from UberConference.

“Walk into the room, click the remote once and you’re instantly in the meeting,” Google continues. “No more complex dial-in codes, passcodes or leader PINs. Share your laptop screen wirelessly, no need for any cords and adaptors. Integration with Google Apps makes it easy to invite others and add rooms to video meetings, directly from Google Calendar.”

Chromebox for Meetings currently is available in the United States starting at $999, which includes technology support for the first year; thereafter, tech support will cost $250 per year. It will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the U.K. later this year.

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