Google has made a move to strengthen its already formidable standing in the world of business productivity tools by expanding its Hangout video conferencing feature. In a blog post from July 30, Google Vice President of Product Development Clay Bavor announced that Hangouts will now be open to users without a Google+ account. Hangouts is also going to be added to the existing suite of Google Apps for business, meaning Google is now covering Hangouts with around the clock support and a 99.9% guaranteed uptime. The fact that it offers commercial video conferencing means that other players in the video conferencing market must take notice and work on methods of staying competitive.

Google’s Move To Secure More Commercial Business

Google Apps is already one of the most well-known suites of productivity tools for businesses. Companies can use the Google Calendar to set appointments, Google Drive to share documents, and Google Talk to communicate with colleagues. Until this point, Google’s Hangout video conference feature was considered more of a casual tool that could be used by friends on Google+ to stay in touch with each other. Google’s recent announcement will force people to change the way that they think about Hangouts.

In addition to the news that Google offers commercial video conferencing through Hangouts, the company also announced that it would be improving its Chromebox, a hardware tool that can be used to hold meetings on almost any kind of device. Google has promised that they will soon roll out the ability to connect two displays to a single Chromebox as well as Chromebox support for calendar integration, which makes hosting meetings at home much easier.

What Google’s Announcement Means For The Industry

These recent reports that Google offers commercial video conferencing through Hangouts, and that Chromebox will be improved for business use send a strong message to companies like Microsoft and Cisco. Google wants its piece of the enterprise pie, and they are coming for it. Rajen Seth, Google’s director of product management for Chrome for business, says that Google is expanding their focus from messaging and email to the enterprise as a whole by improving every part of their suite of apps.

Many Google users and associates in the industry are excited about what this news could mean for their business. Tony Safoian, CEO of Google partner SADA systems, told CRN that his organization had been waiting for these changes for a very long time. The expanded functionality of Google Apps means that businesses that are already using Google’s productivity tools, but have had to go elsewhere for video conferencing solutions, may now be able to get everything done under one platform.

This is just another salvo in the ongoing tech industry battle for enterprise customers, just like Microsoft’s recent announcement that Office 365 users would receive a terabyte of storage space. Only time will tell how Google’s competitors respond to the news, but developments like these are good news for businesses that are looking to make use of lean, powerful communication tools that can help them do their work as effectively as possible.

At Advanced AV we empower live meetings and remote collaboration by deploying the technology that helps your organization connect, communicate and engage with its customers, employees and stakeholders. Connect with us to find out more about how Advanced AV can help you achieve your business and technology goals.