The hardware kit consists of four pieces: a touchscreen controller, speaker mic, 4K sensor camera, and Asus Chromebox.
- Touchscreen Controller – The touchscreen provided houses an interface that lets users control all aspects of a virtual meeting. You can allow people to join via scheduled events on Google Calendar, view meeting details, pin and mute team members, control the camera, add participants with new dial-in functionality, record the meeting in Google Drive, and connect a laptop via an HDMI port.
- Speaker Mic – The speaker microphone included is made by Google, and aims to eliminate echo and background noise. Five speaker mics can be connected over one wire.
- 4K Sensor Camera – The Huddly Go 4K Sensor Camera included comes from Norway-based startup Huddly. It offers 120 degrees field of view and is supposedly built with machine learning so that it can detect participants and automatically crop and zoom to frame them.
- Asus Chromebox – Powered by Chrome OS, the Asus CN62 Chromebox serves as the brain of this hardware kit. This means you can expect an experience similar to what you may find on a Chromebook.
Earlier this year Google announced that it will be shutting down its Gchat platform and replacing it with Hangouts. The move was made in an effort to streamline its cloud-based enterprise collaboration platform, G Suite. There are two versions of Hangouts: the Slack-like Hangouts Chat, and the Skype for Business-like Hangouts Meet.
With the release of this hardware kit, Google is trying to give businesses another reason to make Hangouts Meet their go-to software for meetings and collaboration.
Additionally, Google announced that Hangouts Meet itself was receiving a few updates. This means you can now record meetings and save them in Google Drive if you are a G Suite Enterprise edition customer, host meetings with up to 50 participants, and dial-in locally from 15 available countries around the world, including Canada.