San Francisco: Google took aim at office meeting rooms with the release of a Chromebox for videoconferencing.
Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Chrome, introduces the new Chromebook and Chromebox during the Chrome keynote at Google's annual developer conference. Pic AFP
"These days, we often connect with each other from far-flung locations, coordinating time zones and dialing into conference calls from our phones," product management vice president Caesar Sengupta yesterday said in a blog post.
"Meetings need to catch up with the way we work -- they need to be face-to-face, easier to join, and available from anywhere and any device."
Chromebox-for-meetings is available in the US at a starting price of USD 999 and is to be released later this year in Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, and Spain.
The first model box comes with a high-definition camera and a speaker with a microphone. A monitor must be provided.
There is an annual management fee of USD 250 for the videoconferencing setup.
As many as 15 people can take part in a Chromebox video conference using smartphones, tablets, laptops or other Internet linked computers.
Google has been working to expand its business beyond online search and into businesses with a productivity and collaboration software offered as services in the Internet cloud.
The California technology titan also continues to promote Chrome-powered boxes and laptops that push computing power to servers in Google data centers.
Google introduced the first Chromebook in mid-2010 in a challenge to Windows operating software at the heart of Microsoft's empire.
The array of Chromebook makers has grown to include Acer, Asus, Lenovo, Samsung and Hewlett-Packard, with many models offered at bargain prices when compared to high-end laptops.
Shifting operating software to banks of servers online means that Google updates programs and fends off hackers and malicious software.