Google releases Chromebox for business meetings

7 Feb 2014

Internet search giant Google has unleashed Chromebox, a device that caters for conferencing in business across multiple devices.

The move by Google can be seen as a bold one, considering videoconferencing has been in existence in a usable model for more than a decade, while companies like Skype have been dominating the video call market for the last number of years.

According to Google, what makes its own one different is the optimisation across other devices at the same time.

In the scheme of things, it is also reasonably cheaper than standard videoconferencing installations, easily in the thousands of euro, coming in at a cost of US$999 (€736).

As part of the Chromebox unit, you get everything you expect from a videoconferencing package, including a microphone, HD camera, remote control and the Chromebox itself, which uses Google+ Hangouts and Google apps as the hosting service.

Not Google-restrictive

With its Intel Core i7 processor, the device can host up to 15 participants who can join the video meeting from other conference rooms, their laptops, tablets or smartphones.

Perhaps most importantly, users will not be restricted to needing an Android device to use the conferencing system as it confirms that if you don’t have access to Google Hangouts or Google+, you only need to have a working Gmail account.

It also lets you connect to rooms that have traditional videoconferencing systems using a new tool from Vidyo, and those taking part in the call that prefer phones can join your meeting with a conference call number from UberConference.

HP has just launched its own Chromebox hardware but business users in Ireland will have to wait until the end of the year to get their hands on it.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic