Google has revealed that its Hangouts Meet videoconferencing software will soon work in conjunction with third-party videoconferencing software including Skype for Business, Cisco, and Polycom.
The news comes more than a year after Google revealed it was splitting the Hangouts platform into two key services: Hangouts Chat, a Slack-like platform for teams, and Hangouts Meet, which is all about videoconferencing.
The latest third-party integrations will be enabled via a partnership with Pexip, a platform that essentially builds bridges between otherwise incompatible video and audio technologies. In effect this means that someone will be able to join a video call taking place in Hangouts Meet directly from the Skype for Business app.
This is a bold move by Google for sure, though it’s one that serves as a tacit acknowledgement that Google doesn’t own every facet of its customers’ communication workflow — even if they have gone all-in on G Suite already. This should go some way toward removing friction from intercompany communications.
“Nothing’s more frustrating than hosting a meeting and having trouble getting people to join because of issues with technology — it can interrupt workflows and slow down productivity,” noted Rany Ng, director of product management for G Suite, in a blog post. “We want to make it easier for businesses to use meeting solutions, like Hangouts Meet, without worrying about compatibility with existing equipment.”
These integrations will be rolling out in the coming weeks, according to Ng.
In related news, Google has also revealed that Google Calendar will soon natively support third-party videoconferencing tools, meaning that when you schedule a group meeting in Google Calendar, you will be able to select a conferencing option other than Google’s own products. Conferencing technology providers such as Cisco Webex can develop an add-on that works with Google Calendar, allowing its customers to join a call directly from an event created in Google Calendar.
Other companies currently in the process of building add-ons for Google Calendar include GoToMeeting, Arkadin, Dialpad, LogMeIn, RingCentral, Vidyo, and Vonage, and they will be rolling out in the G Suite Marketplace “in the coming months,” according to Ng.
Building on these interoperability foundations, Google has also revealed that companies that use both G Suite and Microsoft Exchange will soon be able to let their employees book resources, such as rooms and equipment, that are stored in Exchange directly from G Suite. This follows an announcement last year that ushered in a closer tie-up between those productivity tools.
Elsewhere, Google also announced that its Slack competitor Hangouts Chat, which launched for all G Suite users this year, will soon allow its users to open up to collaborations from people who work in different companies via a new “guest access” feature.