Google is pushing Hangouts, its group video call service, into the enterprise space in a big way. Starting today, Google Apps for Business customers no longer need a Google+ account to jump on a call; they can use their existing credentials and instantly join a conversation with up to 14 other people in high-definition.
To coincide with the move, Google has shifted Hangouts under the same Terms of Service that cover its other Google Apps for Business products, such as Gmail and Google Drive. As a result, customers can expect 24-hour phone support, 99.9 percent “guaranteed” uptime (although even Google is susceptible to downtime, it should be noted) and relevant industry certifications.
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Not every business has made the jump to Hangouts, so Google is also teaming up with other videoconferencing providers to support cross-service communications. Blue Jeans and InterCall have already pledged their allegiance, although I wouldn’t expect Skype to do the same anytime soon.
Finally, Google is developing its Chromebox hardware so that it can appeal to a broader range of companies. In the pipeline is support for multiple displays – this could be used for showing a presentation and audience simultaneously – and personal calendar integration. The Google Apps Admin Console is also getting a revamp with options to remotely start, mute and end calls.