Real Time Communications Featured Article

Google Meetings? Maybe.

April 17, 2015

Ever since Google purchased GrandCentral some years ago and turned it into Google Voice, the company has been in the telephony business. With voice calling now moving to unified communications, Google is slowly extending its reach to include these other aspects of the calling experience.

There already is Google Hangouts, which quietly has taken the world by storm and allowed people to easily video conference through the convenience of a browser. Google uses WebRTC to help smooth the wheels of Google Hangouts, making it easy to conference through a browser.

There’s now word that Google might be taking Hangouts in the enterprise direction.

Leaked screenshots have recently showed a corporate version of Google Hangouts tentatively known as Google Meetings or GMeet. It is not entirely known if this is an internal product for Google Teams or the start of an enterprise edition of Google Hangouts, but at least initially it looks as though it runs as a Google Chrome extension and brings a more robust video conference experience tailored to business use.

Right now Google Hangouts already is being used by business, make no mistake about it. But just as Gmail has an enterprise counterpart, it is possible that Google is experimenting with moving into the business meeting space with its telephony products.

This makes a lot of sense for Google, as its products already are used widely in business and it basically already has the technology in place.

via Shutterstock

What is less clear is how a business version of Google’s video conferencing solution might affect the mass of WebRTC vendors currently selling businesses on easy video conferencing solutions via the browser. If Google entered the business video conferencing space, it has the potentially to thoroughly dominate the space.

This would be good for WebRTC in general, since Google has a history of open standards and it would further propel the technology’s adoption. But individual WebRTC vendors might struggle if Google jumps in the ring.

Or would they? Even if Google releases a Google Meetings product, this would be a tide that raises all boats in the WebRTC market. And there would be plenty of room for specialized products that cater to specific video conferencing needs.

The possibility of a Google Meetings product is an intriguing one—and a good development for the real time communications industry overall.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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