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The world has changed.
Today's employees don't always have a unanimous central location to work from. Remote and mobile careers have meant that people are spending less time in the audience, and more time on the cloud.
However, while the evolution of the workplace has a lot of benefits to offer, including reduced stress and increased productivity, it also presents a few key challenges. For instance, how do you make sure that you're staying properly connected to your team when you're not in the same physical space?
Collaboration and communication are an essential part of running any business. That's why there are so many tools emerging on the market, like Slack, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting and more.
If you're already a member of the Google community and rely on G-Suite for its fundamental productivity tools, like Google Drive and Docs, it makes sense to choose Google for collaboration too. Fortunately, that's where Google Hangouts Meet comes in handy.
Google Hangouts Meet is the "Meeting" focused aspect of the Hangouts feature from G-Suite. Designed to take the headaches out of business communications, companies can set up a conference by simply sharing a link. There's no need to worry about apps, plugins, or complicated software.
So, what makes Google Hangout Meet and Meeting Rooms so valuable today?
What is Google Hangouts Meet?
Google Hangouts Meet offers an easy way for people to hold video conferences online. You don't need a specific type of account to join a meeting. Whether you're on a desktop browser or a mobile device, you can join a discussion by just clicking on a link or entering a phone number.
Meet also offers features like:
· The option to instantly join conversations from your Google Calendar.
· Integration with the rest of the G-Suite portfolio - you can even join meetings from an email.
· Dial-in options for enterprise edition G-Suite users, so you can connect to conversations when you don't have a data or Wi-Fi connection.
· Integrations with Skype for Business Meeting systems, and other tools based on H.323 standards via the Pexip Infinity Platform.
· Support for dedicated Hangouts Meet hardware to connect any huddle space or conference room to a meeting with a single click.
Other features of Google Hangouts Meet include:
· Secure meetings: every audio and video stream sent in Hangouts Meet are encrypted - so you don't have to worry about keeping your business safe.
· Simple interface: The simple and streamlined interface makes it much easier to start and join video meetings from a host of devices, including conference rooms, smartphones, computers and more. You can also meet with up to 250 people at a time.
· Recording: Whether for training, compliance or security purposes, you can record meetings on Hangouts Meet from your computer. There's also the option to easily access your recording data using an email link after the session ends.
· Schedule meetings with people inside or outside of your organization: Sometimes you need to collaborate with third-party organizations. Fortunately, you can schedule all of your meetings on your Google calendar, and include a meet video link and dial-in number for guest users too. There's no need for the people you're meeting to have their own Google accounts.
· Share your screen: Improve the context that you can share through your business meetings with screen-sharing. You can also present slides and other information on your desktop, or from multiple devices.
What's New with Hangouts Meet?
In March 2017, Google announced that it would be breaking its Hangouts feature up into two separate solutions: Chat and Meet. The Hangouts Chat feature is a Slack-like collaboration tool, intended for instant messaging and regular synced conversations. The Hangouts Meet feature is a video-conferencing tool, designed to ensure easy face-to-face conversations between businesses and teams from across the globe.
During the most recent Google Cloud Next conference at San Francisco, Google announced that it was building new features into both of the Hangouts solutions. While Hangouts Chat is heading over to Gmail, operating the lower left part of your email screen, Meet is taking a different approach.
During Google Next 2019, Google announced that Meet now has access to live automatic captions in meetings, powered by Google's revolutionary speech recognition technology. These captions are available in English and work with the upcoming Live streaming feature soon to be available in Meet. Live streaming means that attendees outside of a company's organization will be able to view and listen to live streams when they're listed as "public." If that wasn't enough, Google also bumped the limit on the attendees that can come to a Hangouts Meeting up to 250. That's on the same level as Skype for Business.
Other Google Hangouts Meet Updates
Google Cloud Next 2019 was a crucial moment for the Hangouts Meet application. Not only did live transcriptions bring Hangouts up to date with other major competitors like Yammer, Microsoft Teams, and Skype, but Google also revealed another of upcoming features to boost your meeting experience too. For instance, alongside public streams, there will also be presence features available in chat, and the option to input adaptive layouts into your video conference.
The Hangouts Meet adaptive formatting system will select a dynamic layout that provides you with the best possible view of all the people in your meeting. There are four views available, including:
· Spotlight: The format that keeps the focus on the presentation for a single speaker. This is usually the option you'll choose for a live stream or a one-on-one conversation.
· Tiled: This format shows up to four participants on the same screen, making your conversations feel more inclusive.
· Side-by-side: This layout shows three speakers in large format next to the presentation. This ensures that you can see each presenter as they speak.
· Sidebar: This sidebar layout improves the existing meet layout by including various participants in the same vertical space.
The range of formatting updates is intended to make it feel as simple and streamlined as possible when you log into a video meeting with Google. It should be just like stepping into an office meeting.
Google Hangouts Meet Dedicated Hardware
Another major update that emerged during Google Cloud Next this year was the introduction of a range of new hardware options for the Google Meet experience. The Hangouts Meet Hardware kits are designed to give Google a way to offer end-to-end video conferencing services to enterprise customers. The solutions are powered by the Chrome OS and come with things like a camera, microphone, touch-screen controller, and various high-quality speakers. Recently, Google announced a new partnership with Logitech, as well as an upcoming collaboration with Acer.
Logitech is now offering a range of three separate room solutions designed for the Google Hangouts Meet conference room. These bundles have all been designed specifically to support the Google video service, and they come with a pre-configured Chromebox, a touch-screen controller, and a conference camera. The hardware options include:
· Huddle room: Intended for between 2 and 4 people - this package comes with microphones, speakers, a touch controller, a Chromebox, and a Logitech Meetup camera.
· Medium bundle: Ideal for 6 or more people in a single meeting - this package features a Logitech rally soundbar, a rally camera, microphone pods, a touch controller and a Chromebox.
· Large room bundle: Intended for 12 or more people, this room package comes with access to two sound bars, two microphone pods, a touch controller, and a chrome box.
The huddle room bundles for Google Hangouts Meet from Logitech start a price of $3,000. Google says that they're designed to be a fraction of the cost of most conferencing systems. There's a good chance that we'll see the arrival of other collaborations and hardware partnerships going forward too.
Why Use Google Hangouts Meet?
These days, meeting rooms and teams are both becoming increasingly complicated. Business groups are scattered across locations throughout the globe. Around half of the workforce in the US and the UK should be working remotely by next year (2020).
On one the one hand, giving your team the option to work remotely improves their productivity and satisfaction levels. It also means that you don't have to spend nearly as much on things like overheads and electricity costs. However, you also need to make sure that you have a strategy in place for keeping your teams connected when they're not face-to-face.
If you're already using essential Google features like Docs, Sheets, Calendar, Gmail, and many more, then you shouldn't have a problem getting used to Google Hangouts Meet too. Though it's similar in style to the classics Hangouts service from Google, it's also specifically designed to suit the needs of Google Enterprise users.
Are you ready to discover what your team can accomplish with the right meeting solutions? Discover all the benefits of Google G-Suite, including Hangouts Meet today. Contact Apps Admins for more help accessing your personal Google strategy.