You’d be hard-pressed these days to find someone who hasn’t used, or at least heard of Google Hangouts – it’s fast become the second in line to the consumer video chat throne after Skype, closely contended by Apple Facetime, and all three of which have brought video calling to the masses. Yes, Skype has won the “verb” contest (“to skype”, “will we be skyping this evening?”), but Google hasn’t ever been one to back off from a challenge – and that’s become even more so true in the world of business communications, with last years launch of Google Hangouts Meet.
The Not So Well-Known Hangouts Meet
Provided as a business alternative to the consumer Hangouts, Meet provides a simple way to call straight from Gmail and schedule meetings within Google Calendar, alongside a plethora of features historically found within professional Video Conferencing and Collaboration tools.
With Hangouts Meet available for those using G-Suite across their organisation, Google’s business platform is continuing to grow as a strong competitor against Microsoft’s leading UC Cloud Platform, Office 365 – a success that has ousted all of the the mainstream consumer technology providers to rethink their focus, and look at how they can squeeze into, or successfully expand in the business market (just look at the last 24 months of roadmaps and announcements from Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google etc. etc…)
A brief “VS” explanation – Confused with what’s compared with what? Think “Microsoft vs Google”, “Skype vs Hangouts”, “Skype for Business vs Hangouts Meet”, “Teams vs Groups”, “Office 365 vs G-Suite”
Someone Re-canned that Can Of Worms
(Cue Google Branded Can Opener)
A few years ago, you may recall I wrote a blog on Skype to anything Video Conferencing, where we delved into the challenges of communicating with the consumer platform in the business world.
In case you don’t want to read the full past blog, in summary; following the purchase of Skype by Microsoft and ultimately leading to the Skype for Business brand, the closed architecture, non standards-based approach effectively chose to ignore the two decades of efforts in developing standards and protocols aimed at achieving any-to-any Video Communications across the globe.
Skype, Cisco SX80, desktops & meeting rooms all within one conference space – Skype to anything!
Microsoft, stuck with their preferred island approach (there’s definitely business sense for them in it), causing headaches and confusion amongst customers to say the least, many of whom didn’t realise the complexity and challenges they would come up against just wanting to talk between their meeting room and their desktop.
A few years on, the likes of VideoCentric and a small handful of other experienced integrators work on a daily basis to assist organisations with Microsoft environments to successfully communicate outside of their island, or with other technologies deployed across their business. There’s particular gateways, software versions, compatibility & interop challenges, lesser known devices that work well, and well marketed “Microsoft Interoperable” devices we wouldn’t touch with a barge pole. It’s been a challenge, but as integrators, our business is to make this multi-vendor communication work for you, and the Microsoft challenges are just starting to settle. Phew.
Back to Google…
So back to that Google can of worms. It’s the “our way or the highway” approach all over again. G-Suite users to G-Suite users, Hangouts Meet to Hangouts Meet – no problem. But you want to bring in a Cisco or Polycom device, or any standards-based software into a call? Communicate between your meeting rooms and desktop users, or have a catch up with a customer who doesn’t use Google? That’s a no no.
However it isn’t all frustration and headaches. Yet again, a small team of interoperability experts based out in Norway have successfully solved the Google interoperability challenge, just as they did with Skype. With their years of experience in video interoperability and transcoding, the Pexip team have successfully launched a Google Hangouts Gateway, enabling anyone in a Google environment to communicate with anyone outside their environment, seamlessly and professionally – with all the features you’d expect, whatever device you are calling from.
Google Hangouts Meet to Skype for Business?
Yes! An unlikely pairing, but one that’s now possible all the same too. Your Skype for Business users get their familiar experience, and Google Hangouts Meet users stick with theirs too. Everyones happy.
In the Cloud?
Although Pexip creates hardware on-premise based solutions, the future of collaboration technology is in the cloud. VideoCentric are now dedicated to cloud-based services for video-based communications, and with this, comes Google Hangouts Meet interoperability in the Cloud.
Using the Pexip transcoding engine as a platform, VideoCentric and Videxio together with the Google Cloud, provide a cloud-based interoperability service for your G-Suite, so that you can call in from any standards-based video conferencing system on SIP or H.323, Microsoft Skype for Business/Office 365 or browser client and hold secure professional video meetings, without the need for hardware.
Keep Creating the Islands – Norway’s on the Case
It seems that whilst the big players are competing with China for the “most islands created in the 21st century” award, our Norwegian friends will keep doing what they do best – creating stable & interoperable technology that brings people together, not islands them apart.
If you’d like to talk further about Google Hangouts Meet interoperability, whether on-premise or in the cloud, or to find out about professional meeting room endpoints for your meeting spaces within your Google environment, get in touch today – our team can arrange a demonstration, share information and pricing, and help your business be more open and collaborative with anyone, anywhere, anytime.