It's only mentioned briefly in the blog post, but one of the biggest wins with this system (and the aspect that I absolutely love when using it internally at Google) is the simplicity of screen sharing into a meeting. Anyone who wants to present can simply join the hangout from their laptop and then share their screen. Not only does it mean you don't have to fuss with cables/adapters (which can also break/wear out), it also means that if someone wants to share something while someone else is presenting, you don't have to disconnect and reconnect various computers; the other person just shares their screen as well (and/or the first temporarily stops sharing their screen). It also means you don't have to have dedicated rooms for presenters - someone in a remote office can present from their laptop to a meeting room elsewhere.
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.
The software and experience could easily be worth the price, but the promo page does a poor job explaining its features and differentiating it from a normal Chrome OS hangouts experience. Is this special software that's only available on this package? Are there dedicated servers for subscribers? A video showing the actual experience would be worth a lot here, but the site tells me almost nothing other than it's a video meeting solution. Also, can I even use the chromebox for things other than meetings without a painful hacking process? It seems that i7 would be going to waste whenever you aren't having a meeting.
> Anyone who wants to present can simply join the hangout from their laptop and then share their screen
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.
The Chromebox is significantly cheaper than other enterprise VC solutions ($10k+ with steep annual fees). For those customers, I think the Chromebox is really compelling as it is a much better user experience.
Could you highlight what the differences are versus using Hangouts and collaborative editing on Drive, apart from the compatibility via gateways to conventional videoconferencing systems? Capacity? Management?