Google is trying to spread its Meet videoconferencing software to more devices and to make the hardware meant for Meet more compatible with Zoom. On Wednesday, the company announced that its enterprise version of Meet will be coming to devices running Android, where it’s traditionally run on ChromeOS.
The latter change will start with devices from Poly and Logitech, but let’s back up a second here because I know there are probably a few of you thinking something along the lines of “what do you mean, ChromeOS? Isn’t Meet just an app on my phone, or a website I can visit, or a tab in Gmail, or... ?” And the answer is yes, but for enterprise users, it’s even more. For years, the company has been selling dedicated Google Meet hardware for board and meeting rooms that theoretically let you just tap on a touchscreen to join or manage meetings. Those devices, and others like them that have been designed for other videoconferencing services like Zoom, are what we’re talking about today.
Back to Logitech and Poly. Both companies currently have systems that look a bit like soundbars, cost thousands of dollars, and include an array of speakers, microphones, and cameras that are meant to make everyone look and sound their best during meetings. Starting in 2023, those devices — specifically the Logitech Rally Bar and Rally Bar Mini and the Poly Studio X family — will have the option of using an Android-based brain that runs Google Meet. It was possible to use Meet with some of those devices before, but theoretically, the native experience will be better.
Google’s also announcing interoperability with Zoom’s Rooms system (which is similar to the enterprise version of Google Meet but for Zoom). That means that people will be able to use their Meet hardware to make Zoom Rooms calls, and people with Zoom hardware will be able to use Meet on it. According to the company’s blog post, the interoperability feature, which is launching later this year, will initially be supported by “all ChromeOS-based Meet devices,” such as the ones from Acer, Asus, and Lenovo, with support for other Meet devices coming over time. Meet will be able to run on “all Zoom Rooms across all platforms.”
Google’s famous for its confusing messaging strategy, and the enterprise version isn’t that much easier to grasp. However, it does seem like the company is trying to make it simpler by getting Meet to a place where it’s more platform agnostic — and by letting other companies’ services run on Meet hardware.