Google Hangouts now covered by same SLAs as Gmail & Drive

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Google Hangouts users will now be covered by the same SLAs offered to subscribers to the search giant's cloud-based business productivity tools.

The move means businesses that regularly use Hangouts to conduct video meetings will now be covered by the same terms of service that underpin other Google Apps for Business offerings, such as Gmail and Google Drive.

“That means we've got your back with 24x7 phone support and a 99.9 per cent guaranteed uptime, as well as ISO27001, SSAE 16/ISAE 4302 and SOC 2 Certification,” the company confirmed in a blog post.

Furthermore, the vendor has also announced changes to make Hangouts accessible to a wider range of business users, by canning the requirement that people need a Google+ profile in order to use it.

“Hangouts video meetings support any Google Apps customer account,” the blog post continued.

“Any Google Apps customer can start or join a high-definition video meeting that connects 15 participants – from a computer or Chromebox for Meetings.”

The latter was unveiled by Google in February, as part of a concerted push by the vendor to move into the video-conferencing space.

Created by Asus, the Chromebox comes with a 1080p camera, remote control, and a combined speaker/microphone attachment. It is also powered by an Intel i7 chip and features HDMI, USB and Ethernet ports to facilitate the delivery of video meetings when plugged into a monitor.

To enhance the offering, Google has also set out some forthcoming improvements it's planning to make to the product to make it more adaptable for users in different meeting environments and easier for IT admins to manage.

At the moment, the product is not available to buy in the UK, but Google has assured users that it will be “soon”. At present, it's on sale in the US for around $999.

“In the coming months, we'll be making Chromebox for meetings work better in rooms of all shapes and sizes. In larger conference rooms, you can connect two displays to one Chromebox for Meetings device to see your audience and project a presentation at the same time,” the blog post adds.

“And soon, even more teams across the world will be able to get simple and affordable video meetings.

“In the coming weeks, we'll be expanding Chromebox for Meetings to the UK and Japan, in addition to the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.”

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.