At the end of July, Google announced some of the latest in their line of updates for Google Apps users. The update focuses on Google Calendar integration for the popular Google hangouts service. Hangouts is a real time collaborative voice and video conferencing service that enables business users to stay connected to their colleagues and clients, no matter where they are in the world.
These isn’t the only change that google has made to their service. Soon users on third party solutions like SIP clients, or H.323 hardware from Cisco, Polycom, and others will be able to connect to hangouts from outside of the Google environment. Users on PSTN networks will also be able to dial in to a hangout from a regular phone line.
With concentrated efforts to expand the Hangouts solution to suit enterprise and business environments, Google is in a strong position to increase their market penetration.
As of now, Google users will be able to directly add calendar appointments for a google hangout call. Any new event in Calendar will automatically have a hangout created, enabling team members and invitees to join a meeting even when they are away from the office.
Users will now be able to change the name of an event from the calendar view.
Privacy in business is critical, so invites will only be automatically added for participants within the domain. External participants either need invites sent, or they can be added while a hangout is already taking place. External users with the hangout URL will not be able to join without an invite.
All users, not just those connected to Google+ will be able to join Hangouts for Google Apps.
Google Apps Admins will have added functions to control how hangouts behave within calendar.
Any domain administrator can disable automatic hangout creation by signing in to the Google admin console, and following the path Google Apps > Calendar > Sharing Settings > Automatically add video calls to events created by user.
This setting may be enabled or disabled depending on the privacy requirements of an organization.
Google hangouts with calendar integration is the best way to communicate face to face in businesses that are decentralized, have field staff who need to connect from any device, or when external parties need to be conveniently invited to meetings.
Organizations may need to communicate with third parties who have not adopted a Google Apps solution, or even with internal parties who are unable to access a hangout. In collaboration with Google, Blue Jeans is offering extended connectivity to the Hangouts environment for participants on external hardware.
SIP and H.323 conferencing solutions have been commonplace in businesses for many years, but they’re closed environments that don’t interface natively with Hangouts. Blue Jeans is rolling out a cloud based gateway in September 2014 that will bring platform interoperability to any third party solution and Google Hangouts.
Staff and partners will be able to connect using their current voice or video conference facilities, and dial in facilities will be available for POTS systems. Blue Jeans’ system will take analogue connections and connect them through their cloud infrastructure to the hangouts environment. Google Apps users will be able to complement their current solutions with Blue Jeans’ extended functionality for critical conferences.