Google is teaming up with two third-party hardware providers in a bid to boost uptake of its video conferencing offering, Google Hangout Meet, as it continues to try to clinch a Microsoft Office 365-rivalling enterprise deal for its G Suite offering.
The company has partnered with Switzerland-based video communication and office collaboration developers Logitech to offer bundles of pre-configured computers, conference cameras, and touch screen controllers, starting at $3,000 it said.
It has also joined forces with Acer to introduce a 24” all-in-one device specially tailored for Hangouts meetings, called the Acer Chromebase for Meetings 24V2. The Acer Chromebase comes with a 100-degree field of view camera.
G Suite: Growing Fast, but Still a Minnow
Analysts expect Google owner Alphabet to highlight G Suite’s growth in its earnings this week: Reuters reports that the number of G Suite enterprise users has doubled to four million organisations in the past two years alone; albeit many being SMEs.
It is competing with Microsoft Teams – which bundles an enterprise version of Skype in with Office 365 and other tools – and also Facebook, which has recently announced a string of high-profile deals for its London-based Workplace by Facebook.
Jeffrey Mann, an analyst at research firm Gartner, told Reuters: “I have been talking to traditionally conservative companies in government, aerospace, financial services” [that are considering buying G Suite]. “That would not have happened two years ago.”
Software Workplace Collaboration Market
Even in its selected field of video conferencing, however, Google Hangout Meet is ranked number seven by market analysis enterprise Datanyze. They rank Zoom and Adobe Connect as the most popular video conferencing services.
San Francisco-based workplace collaboration platform Slack has soared in market value to $7.1 billion following a recent $427 million (£331) Series H funding round last year meanwhile and continues to take market share for team collaboration tools.
Google has confused many users with its sprawling array of messaging and video applications, spanning Google Hangouts “classic”, Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet, messaging service Google Allo and video chat application Duo
In December 2018 Google said it is rolling its “classic” overarching Hangouts product into Hangout Chat and Meet; respectively chat and team video conferencing applications primarily focused on team collaboration for enterprise G Suite customers.
TJ Varghese, from Google Cloud wrote in a blog that: “We believe that all organizations, small or large, can have a video-first meeting culture, which is why we’re building solutions that help companies re-imagine meetings.”
The company said it has built out G Suite to support video conferencing that can host up to 100 people at one time (and 100,000 on livestream) and also added intelligent, interactive whiteboards to “foster creativity” in meetings.