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Google Cloud upgrades Hangouts Meet hardware

A new camera means up to 20 participants cans be seen in a large meeting room

google meet hardware

Google has updated its Hangouts Meet hardware, adding support for larger rooms, a new AI integration for Jamboard and expansion of its services into new territories.

With Hangouts Meet, the company is now offering two options for use in conference rooms and other larger venues. First, instead of the standard 4k camera that comes as part of the Hangouts Meet bundle, businesses can opt for a Logitech PTZ Pro 2 camera, which means it will now be able to accommodate rooms of up to 20 people, ensuring everyone in a Hangout can be seen and can communicate, with a 10x optical zoom and tilt focus for honing in on participants.

The second new option is a separate Meet speakermic that will boost the sound quality in rooms too. It has been designed by Google and, the company said, is able to remove echo in bigger rooms. It's also possible to daisy-chain up to five of these standalone mics together to ensure all speakers can be heard, no matter where in the room they're sitting.

The touchscreen controller and Asus Chromebox from the original bundle still come as standard with the new options.

In a blog post, TJ Varghese and Katie Roberts-Hoffman, product managers of G Suite, said: "We're working closely with customers and industry experts to shape the role of technology in meetings, and we want to make it easy for teams to work together face-to-face, anytime, anywhere.

"A big part of getting this right is working closely with IT, AV and facilities leaders to understand how we can solve some of their challenges."

Google also announced the addition of an AI-powered feature called AutoDraw to its Jamboard smart whiteboard. This allows participants to create rough sketches, which AutoDraw will analyse using autodetection and suggest a range of objects that could be what the user has drawn. The user then selects the correct image and a clearer version will then be displayed on screen. See below for an example of AutoDraw in action.

"This gives teams the ability to make their ideas even more visualwhether you're a creative designer working with clients or even a teacher working with students," Varghese and Roberts-Hoffman said.

Jamboard and Hangouts Meet hardware have been available in the US and UK for some time, but now the services are being rolled out to additional territories, including the Netherlands and Denmark for the latter and the Republic of Ireland, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, France, Spain and Finland for the former.

All images courtesy of Google.

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