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Google introduces Chromebox corporate video-conferencing product


Michael Liedtke

Google: Taking on Cisco and Polycom with video-conferencing technology.

Google: Taking on Cisco and Polycom with video-conferencing technology.

Google has launched a video-conferencing tool designed to make it easier and less expensive to hold face-to-face business meetings even if the participants are scattered in different locations around the world.

The device, called Chromebox For Meetings goes on sale today for $US999 ($1119) in the US and will be available in the coming weeks in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Spain and France.

The price includes technology support for the first year. Customers needing support after that will have to pay $US250 ($280) annually. Chromebox For Meetings is being sold by Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Asus, all of which already sell an assortment of gear to corporate customers and government agencies.

Google said the box contains everything needed to set up a video-conferencing system that can connect people in up to 15 different locations. The company said someone simply needs to connect the device to a display screen and follow the instructions step by step.

The video-conferencing kit relies on several existing Google products: the Chrome operating system based on the eponymous web browser; the technology running Google's free Hangouts video chat system; and a suite of applications the company has been selling to businesses for several years.

Most of Google's previous forays in corporate markets have been aimed at competing with Microsoft's Office software and Windows operating system. With the expansion into business videoconferencing, Google is attacking products made by Cisco and Polycom.

The introduction of the new Chromebox also underscores Google's commitment to continue stamping its brand on a variety of gadgets, just a week after announcing plans to sell its Motorola Mobility smartphone business to Lenovo for $US2.9 billion. Google bought Motorola in 2012 with aspirations of building it into an influential player in the growing smartphone maker, but the deal turned into an expensive mistake.


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4 comments so far

  • Of course, to utilise this effectively for business we would need Fibre To The Premises NBN, unfortunately it will be far less useful with the expensive National Fraudband Network that the LNP are touting.

    Date and time
    February 08, 2014, 8:34AM
    • If you need it for business, get it. You can make a call and start the process today. Oh, you want it for your business - your enterprise to make money for you - for free. I see.

      Harvey K-Tel
      Date and time
      February 10, 2014, 10:27AM
  • Web RTC therefore P2P using Web RTC in chrome, still fibre and 40mbps uploads would improve the bitrate for uploads and will dictate the simultaneous streams. You won't be able to do this on copper that's for sure.

    Date and time
    February 09, 2014, 1:41PM
    • Motorolla was hardly an expensive mistake...they probably lost money but not a lot of money in the region of $500m. However that depends on a conservative valuation of their patent portfolio. If they got more than the estimates from the patents then they may have actually made a bit of money.

      Plus if you have upwards of $50b of reserves expensive is a relative term.

      Date and time
      February 10, 2014, 12:18PM

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