Having a meeting that doesn't involve slides? The meeting organizer can just throw up the meeting agenda with a click or two - or if it's in something like a Google Doc, the meeting agenda can even be dynamic, with people adding topics they want to visit as they determine them, and the organizer simply working their way down the agenda as it grows. Add the agenda as an attachment to the google calendar entry for the meeting and people can review/add to the agenda ahead of time, and then look back at it after the meeting for a reminder of what was covered.
This is in line with every other solution like IBM Smartcloud or Citrix GoTo meeting, there isn't anything new or innovative about this it's just a little cheaper. Also comes with the nice vendor lock-in that it's not self-hosted so all those sensitive business conversations are going over google servers - see how that goes down at audit and also that you are required to have google apps.
If there was a cheaper (order of magnitude cheaper) version, we'd be interested.
So even if you can't afford it, many, many more people will be able to afford video conferencing with a price less than 10% that of standard solutions.
The best 'self-contained' video conference machine I've used in the last year is:
1. $400 less up front than the Chromebox
2. Has an annual service fee $200 less than the Chromebox
3. Has a camera with awesome built in face detection (if one person is in the room it centers on their face, if three people are in it automatically expands to fit them all in, if you wander around the room it follows + refocuses on your face).
4. Is voice controlled.
5. Plays Lego Marvel Superheroes at 1080p.
The XBox One and their Skype integration is really well thought out and solves most of the annoyances surrounding video conferencing, focal length, bad speakerphone mics, etc. highly recommended.
Once you've got that, Skype's screen sharing leaves a bit to be desired. Hangouts allows for screen sharing of individual app windows, which I consistently miss when using Skype.
Additionally, Skype video calls under the premium plan have a fair use policy with a limit of 4 hours per session with a monthly cap of 100 hours total. That may be okay for an individual, but is probably not the best solution for something sitting in a conference room shared across a company.
Of course, it's also a matter of business models and how each company earns its revenue. However as the end user, "free" is better than $x/month
It's a fine point, but it might matter to some users.
Also, for collaborative document editing, I think Hangouts are going to win, hands-down.
Hangouts also allows widespread distribution, so for example, with the GWT team's weekly meetings, we have sometimes recorded them, or broadcast them live, and even invited external participants to watch and field questions.
You can also do things like run Hangouts Apps (Web Version), that lets people collaborate on documents while having the meeting. We do this with design docs or spreadsheets used for planning so that everyone on the video can edit what we are all watching get presented.
Those complaining about the price are speaking from the standpoint of consumers. For someone running a non-trivial business, paying $1000 to get customer support is worth the trouble.
If Google weren't making any margin on this, then you'd have to worry about it going away at some point. If you want a healthy assurance that it's going to stick around, pay b2b rates.
Edit: HN discussion here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7192940
Does using it require Google Plus?
If you were to start a hangout via Gmail from your Google Apps account, you get a dumbed down version that doesn't support features like screensharing and up to 15 people.
You would need to use an account that has G+ connected and start the hangout from the hangouts app or from G+. So I think yes, you would need a G+ account to use this unless Google changes that.
So not really sure what awful problems you expect to pick up.
I love Google Apps, don't get me wrong, but it wouldn't be fitting in my current environment. :-)
(We might just be able to set up "dummy" accounts that nobody ever notices or deals with directly; still very intrigued by this)
In a more technically-savvy organization, I'd definitely just integrate more closely with Google Apps and be happy.
I'm used to Chromeboxes costing about $300, and web cams cost about $100 for an awesome one. So, $400 makes sense to me...?
$250/yr. isn't even pocket change - it's lint relative to the price of a Tandberg set up.
I recognize that Camera as a Logitech ($90)
and that mic is a Jabra Speak 410 ($85)
And that remote looks like the one that comes with a Google TV ($40).
We know the ASUS Box starts at under $200.
I'll cut you a deal and sell it to you for $500?
The only motivation I can see is: "well the competition charges a hefty recurring fee, so why shouldn't we", but then the competition isn't doing all that well for this reason. I see a lot of resemblance to Cisco's "Umi" product, which had a $25/mo fee as well, and was a total flop.
Most companies prefer to actually have a support plan, because if they don't, the alternative is to pay their own people to fix them, and it's usually cheaper to not pay someone full-time to have expertise in that area.
This is a business-focused product offering.
Note that this isn't very unusual either at most companies. Given the low failure rate of most electronics, it is simply cheaper for the business/IT team to buy a replacement Mac / router / whatever than to pay any kind of yearly maintenance fee, which is always designed to make more money for the vendor.
$250/year for a $999 piece of equipment is not a good deal. If it were an option, like AppleCare, most would advise you to not take it.
Despite that, I'd be very leery about purchasing this, as Google doesn't have a reputation for stellar support, or even _reachable_ support.
So the hardware cost checks out, but the question is if their support and software is worth $250 a year. They don't do a good job explaining what goes into that though. Is the software a proprietary version of Chrome OS? Do you get to use priority servers instead of the normal hangout ones? Does that support fee cover all your chromeboxes, or is that per box? I feel a lot of the value proposition isn't being well explained. If it's amazing quality, and a great meeting experience, it can easily be worth it, but I'm not getting the sense of how the experience is better than if you bought the components yourself. A promo video demo would help.
I love how simple the Chromecast is, it allows everybody to work it with no hassle. I hope this product also accomplishes that goal.
We've got a Mac Mini in every conference room, and every conference room represents a "room" in Vidyo. The whole thing is really frictionless. You open the app on your desktop, say you want to join the meeting in Room XYZ, and next thing you know you appear on the TV in there. Everyone also gets a personal "room" so if you're a remote worker and want to call a meeting with people in an office, you can just tell people in a physical conference room to join you by name.
The desktop client is implemented in Flex so it's a little ugly, but still works pretty well. I've been doing several meetings a week over Vidyo for the last six months and it's been pretty seamless.
It sounds like this is the same sort idea, except with Google Apps integration.
Can you chromecast to a chromebox? If so this can replace the crap load of Apple TVs we have at work, great for the 1/2 of folks that're on Thinkpads.
edit: missed "includes first year's $250 management & support fee"
We use this at Google for all of our video conferencing, and have for years. It's very well battle tested.
Edit: It looks like there's a $250/year fee per Chromebox. I'm not sure if that's good or bad compared to other vendors. You can connect from your computer or phone for free though.
> Chromebox, plus everything you need for video meetings. Starting at $999.
> includes first year's $250 management & support fee
Anyone know if this thing has to be logged into a Google account, or does it get its own address of some sort? Also, is it possible to have a call between two of these devices?
I'd love for it to be simpler for me to arrange Hangouts in my living room, and for now I deal with doing it through an HTPC.... but I'm absolutely not interested in paying what they're charging here. So I hope eventually they introduce a cheaper consumer targeted device.
(edit: here's hoping the next Chromecast has a way to hook up a webcam...)
This would be amazing, except no partner or customer our company works with has a gmail account. I have used quite a few different solutions, and while none of them wow me, the one thing all of them did was work for everyone.
For this to become a viable solution for this market it will need to include non-gmail users.
It is definitely preferable to asking somebody to drop tens or hundreds of thousands on other enterprise virtual conferencing solutions.
For example, someone will change the Mac's sound IO for whatever reason, then the Hangout audio IO will change and someone else won't realize this (e.g. sound comes out of the Mini speaker in the closet, instead of the speakerphone). So a few mins at the start of every few meetings is spent debugging these things.
The holy grail everyone wants is, "walk into the room, and it just does the right thing." This looks like a step in that direction from our current setup.
The Chromebox is bound to a room (GApps resource) so it is aware of which meetings start when, and shows this to you on the screen.
Also, the Mac Mini solution involves creating named GApps accounts, and inevitably those sessions time out or people log them out. These devices also solve that problem (they are 'bound' to your GApps domain), which for a company with more than a few conference rooms can get really old.
IIRC, SDSL turned out to be the better answer (and we really, really wanted to try FiOS, but they didn't support our building).
Management console & support: $150
How does Hangouts work today on ChromeOS?
Chromebox for meetings:
Disclaimer: I'm not a megacorp with millions to spend.
And then the guy forgot his power cord, and can't project for the whole meeting.
And then the other guy forgot his Mac's VGA converter.
And then some other guy has a Mac VGA converter, but it's the old one, not the new one.
And then the guy's Windows box for some reason will not show video on the second monitor.
And the file he needed was on his desktop, not his laptop, and does anyone have a USB key?
And now Windows is rebooting and you can't turn off the power, because it's installing updates.
I think a permanent ChromeOS-based computer plugged in to the projector makes a TON of sense. I've also drunk the Google Docs kool-aid, so YMMV.
EDIT: Oh, and then because the projector was sharing his desktop, we get to see a ton of instant messages. Some of them from his wife. If instead you were doing a Hangout on a collaborative Google Doc, you wouldn't see that.
You can already do up to 15 people in hangouts http://www.webpronews.com/google-ups-the-hangout-limit-to-15...
This would go great in our office conference room if the price is right vs setting up someones MBP every time
(Also, really? You think AdWords and AdSense are created for the average consumer?)
Regarding the $750 hardware cost, if you build 15-way video conference system and sell it with $200 operating margin and one year hardware warranty, good luck if you can hit $750 price point. The price will surely go down over time, but it is way cheaper than anything else on the market.
$999 seems like a lot when I can just use my current laptop with a VGA/HDMI cable plugged into the TV and then share over webex. And I am not really sure about using hangouts.
For video conferencing the price is probably a steal over what the cisco telepresence costs.
After one year you are a bit ahead with the Chromebox (~$1200/WebEx vs $1000/Chromebox) but I totally agree with your questioning of hangouts as a proven tool in an enterprise environment. Dedicated Cisco telepresence is in the magnitude of $15k to $150k depending on the feature set.
We've found this unit excellent for team meetings or coworking with remote team members (we were part of the pilot). The audio and video quality is very good, and unlike with Skype, the meeting is just a simple URL you follow to join; distributed in the Calendar event.
You can also bookmark named hangouts; for example if you have a 1:1 with a remote coworker every day. Or, I dunno, if you wanted to hold regular office hours - you could have essentially a static hangout that you use for an hour or two every day. Google is really trying to make Hangouts a solid videoconferencing tool, and for companies already using Google Apps, this is an incredibly valuable addition.
HP just released a Chrome OS device, the HP Chromebox.
I wonder who will now change the naming...
You're left off with XAMPP and OpenSource tech?
At a previous job the building next door was a remote office for a non-IT part of a large non-tech company. They spent the money to get some kind of carrier line (maybe EPL/EVPL?) solely for teleconferencing.
While the system is almost certainly not difficult to compromise for TLAs and others, they get assurance that the data hasn't left "their" network,
I personally don't think there's much rhyme or reason to that particular permutation of those policies, but there is certainly a large group of buyers who are fine with potentially backdoored commercial products as long as "the data doesn't leave our network" and hence would not be OK with Google's solution.
We've only hit this limit with very large all-hands meetings or presentations that lots of people also want to dial into. We often have a separate view-only stream for those cases.
Though, I believe both Webex and GoToMeeting charge extra to have this ability.
Now some 15 years later after many flavours, Google now offer the option but not just a feature push, but on a slow, methodical gradual feature addition which has seen the progress from VOIP/IM chat into video, into group video into a public contact phone book (aka Google+) of today. Then into a rebrand and now just polishing to the lowest common denominator of user in userbility (I personaly prefered ealier Gmail and chat clients, but that's me and other quirky geeks I suspect).
So why is this big or important more too the point. Well If you view ChromeOS and its features to a modern revamp of the `dumb` terminal (that were not that dumb and could do Various terminal standards and on mainframes even form validation for numeric and alpha feilds and size of input back in the 80's.
Now duringt he 80's a company called SInclair released there next ZX Spectrum replacement which ICL modified and released the OPD (One Per Desk). This was featurewise in mahy respects what a user today wants in a terminal, even had phone built in, though no video back in the 300baud data days.
So too me I see ChromeOS and the slow but sure feature set grow, as the new terminal for the cloud - aka cluster/distributed mainframes we use thesedays. After all everything goes in circles, even technology approach. I know people can and do view webbrowsers as the terminal of our times and yes, many would be right, but if you step back a level you would want something with a little more, though not much more and a good interface and mobiles have opened up the whole touch-screen interfacing (was around in the 80's, just not as cheap and usable) and for many tasks, work very well. But bigger screens always will help upto a point and a real keyboard (although still stuck in a layout that seems like forcing some backwards outdated layout onto new people and children even today, think keyboard-religion). It is with that all in mind for me that make ChromeOS seems like the `dumb` terminal of our times and remember `dumb` terminals are never dumb.
Now when you can add via a MCU/bridge external VC setups and studios into a hangout is when Google will be truely and finaly solidifying a technology that serves our times and needs and if anything else. Least help stop the UN and other World leaders flying around the World to lecture us mear peons why the climate is in a mess and how we should do our part about carbon emisions, whilst they then fly to the poles for photo shoots to add onto there stories of why climate change is happening.
That is what Videoconferencing can truely offer and can, but its main issue has always been taking it serious compared to a jolly/plane flight/travel for so many mentality wise, again think the same mentalities that give us QWERTY keyboard-religions.
One day, but after over 15 years I hope this keeps the momentum and slow but sure approach google has taken so far into Videoconferencing/VOIP. Until then we will always have `dumb` terminals and mainframes be they touchscreen clients or clustered machines called a cloud.