Google Targets Businesses With New Hangouts Features

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Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) unveiled a number of new Google Apps features specifically aimed at business customers today. In particular, Google Hangouts got a nice boost for its video chat capabilities.

Google Hangouts enhances face-to-face chat

In a blog post, Google Apps Vice President of Product Management Clay Bavor said they have made it easier for anyone to take part in video meetings. He said that starting today, any Google Apps customer account can use the video meetings feature on Hangouts. Even accounts that don’t have a profile on Google+ can attend a video meeting on Hangouts.

Also any Google Apps customer can join or start a high-definition video meeting that can have up to 15 people participating using a Chromebox or computer. The search giant plans to add this capability to tablets and mobile phones soon as well. Google also revealed new partnerships with companies like Blue Jeans, which enables those on traditional video conferencing systems to take part in video meetings. The company also partnered with InterCall so people can start using their phones for the meetings through an audio-conference bridge.

Enhancing Chromebox

Google is also working on making Chromebox “work better in rooms of all shapes and sizes.” The company said it added the capability to connected two displays for a single Chromebox in bigger conference rooms. The two displays enable users to not only see their audience but also put up a presentation at the same time.

The company also added integration for personal calendars so that users can set up Chromebox for meetings when they’re at home. Other enhancements include new options in the Google Apps Admin Console, like remote start, muting and ending a meeting.

In addition, Google is expanding Chromebox to cover Japan and the U.K. in addition to the countries it already covered. Starting in September, customers will also be able to buy Chromebox for meetings, made by Dell.

The search giant is hosting a live Hangout on Air on Aug. 19 to present more information about these updates.

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