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Why Google is betting big on video conference optimization

Do you remember your first conference calls? The poor audio quality, unbearable delays, and the way no one quite knew how to handle the situation probably made you think that was hardly going to catch on. Fast forward to 2021 and suddenly we all just can’t imagine a world where we need to go back to a room full of people that commuted for 45 minutes just to see a 50-page long PowerPoint presentation.

Videoconference technology has come a long way, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. Yes, Remote meetings are the new normal, but that was mostly due to the pandemic and the need to stay indoors for an excruciatingly long amount of time.

With the end of mandatory lockdowns, we finally have the chance to reinvent the way we work for good, and for that to work, the companies responsible for making it happen have to step up to the plate and change the game for good. 

One of those companies is, of course, Google, which recently teamed up with Avocor to add two new devices to the Series One family, specifically designed to improve remote and hybrid work experiences. Google Meet Series One Desk 27 and Board 65.

Both devices are designed to work with the Google Meet teleconference software that was introduced in September. 

This is not the first time the tech giant has partnered with a company to create better devices. Their previous partnership with Lenovo led to the creation of a camera, soundbar, and touchscreen remote. Their newfound deal with Avocor makes the situation abundantly clear. Google wants to win the videoconference race, and they want to win big. 

Both devices include a custom Google Edge TPU chip in addition to the standard Intel Core i5. The Series One Desk 27 is a 27-inch display that has custom speakers, mics, a camera, and a touchscreen while the Board 65 is a 65-inch giant all-in-one touchscreen with an ultra-responsive UHD LCD screen.

The most interesting thing about their new line of Series One products is that they are specifically created to build better collaboration environments. This means faster response time, better video and sound quality, integrated intelligence, and a whole lot of features created to promote teamwork. 

While some may see this as just another market Google wants to capitalize on, the truth is there may be more to it than just diversification. Google CEO Sundar Pichai published an article in May about how to improve hybrid work, reshaping the usual approach. 

On the matter of flexibility, Pichai commented

“For more than 20 years, our employees have been coming to the office to solve interesting problems — in a cafe, around a whiteboard, or during a pickup game of beach volleyball or cricket. Our campuses have been at the heart of our Google community and the majority of our employees still want to be on campus some of the time. Yet many of us would also enjoy the flexibility of working from home a couple of days of the week, spending time in another city for part of the year, or even moving there permanently. Google’s future workplace will have room for all of these possibilities.”

So, there you have it. The future of work will probably have room for all possibilities, at least for now and at least at Google. If we follow the money, it becomes abundantly clear that tech companies are starting to realize we are in a transitional period and that is a huge opportunity to spearhead significant changes. 

As with every new development, it will take a while to adjust our century-old work format to fit the requirements of a new kind of labor force. Better hardware and software will accelerate an already fast-paced process and probably lower the cost of switching to fully remote and hybrid work environments.

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