Google takes aim at conference rooms
February 8, 2014, 12:06 am TWN
SAN FRANCISCO -- Google took aim at office meeting rooms on Thursday with the release of a Chromebox for videoconferencing.
"These days, we often connect with each other from far-flung locations, coordinating time zones and dialing into conference calls from our phones," product management vice president Caesar Sengupta said in a blog post.
"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."
Chromebox-for-meetings is available in the U.S. at a starting price of US$999 and is to be released later this year in Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, and Spain.
The first model box comes with a high-definition camera and a speaker with a microphone. A monitor must be provided.
There is an annual management fee of US$250 for the videoconferencing setup.
As many as 15 people can take part in a Chromebox video conference using smartphones, tablets, laptops or other Internet linked computers.
Google has been working to expand its business beyond online search and into businesses with a productivity and collaboration software offered as services in the Internet cloud.
The California technology titan also continues to promote Chrome-powered boxes and laptops that push computing power to servers in Google data centers.
Google introduced the first Chromebook in mid-2010 in a challenge to Windows operating software at the heart of Microsoft's empire.
The array of Chromebook makers has grown to include Acer, Asus, Lenovo, Samsung and Hewlett-Packard, with many models offered at bargain prices when compared to high-end laptops.
Shifting operating software to banks of servers online means that Google updates programs and fends off hackers and malicious software.