Google launches $2,000 Hangouts Meet kits for corporate meetings
Google LLC wants to make it easier for businesses to start using its enterprise-focused chat platform Hangouts Meet by launching a new $1,999 kit that comes with all of the hardware necessary to get started.
Meet, which launched in March, is essentially an enterprise-focused version of Google Hangouts with chat features designed for corporate meetings and communicating with remote employees. Google’s new kit is not required to use Meet, but the company said the kit will be “a cost-effective way to bring high-quality video meetings to your business.”
“We know meetings are the main entry point for teams to share and shape ideas into action,” said Katie Roberts-Hoffman, a product manager at Google. “That’s why we recently introduced Hangouts Meet, an evolution of Google Hangouts designed specifically for the workplace, and Jamboard, a way to bring creative brainstorming directly into meetings. Combined with Calendar and Drive, these tools extend collaboration beyond four walls and transform how we work—so every team member has a voice, no matter location.”
The new Google Meet hardware kit comes with four components: a small, touch sensitive screen that acts as a controller, a “speakermic,” a 4K sensor camera and an Asus Chromebox. Google designed its own speakermic for the kit, which eliminates echo and background noise. According to the company, up to five speakermics can be daisy-chained together with a single wire to reduce conference table clutter.
The kit’s 4kK camera, which is made by Huddly, also boasts a 120-degree field of view, allowing it to capture more people in one frame without forcing employees to crowd together. According to Google, the camera uses machine learning to detect meeting participants and automatically zoom and crop to keep them in the picture.
The Asus Chromebox acts as the brains for the kit, and Google said it automatically pushes out updates to the rest of the hardware. The Chromebox also supports remote device monitoring and management, making it easier for companies’ information technology departments to keep tabs on the platform.
In addition to the new hardware kit, Google is also rolling out a few new features for Meet that were requested by users, including the ability to record meeting and save them to Google Drive. The update also added support for meetings with up to 50 participants, as well as the ability for participants to dial in from anywhere. Google said those updates will be rolling out slowly, but it also has more planned for the future.
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