Hoping to simplify the process of setting up and running video conferences, Google announced Chromebox for meetings, an updated version of its Chrome OS computer that has been tuned for video streams, backed by peripherals, Google+ Hangouts, and other Google cloud services.

At a media event at Google’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, Caesar Sengupta, VP of product management for Chromebooks at Google, touted the system’s affordability and potential to foster a more engaged corporate culture.

Citing the difficulty of setting up audio and video conferences and the fact that those attending audio conferences often spend the time playing games or surfing the web, Sengupta said Google believes it can offer something better. “Many companies try to deal with [the challenge of audio conferencing] by investing in video conferencing systems,” he said. “But these are typically expensive, complicated to set up, and require changes in the room. … Very few people in a company actually get access to these systems.”

A meeting room with a Chromebox can accommodate up to 15 people and Google says multiple rooms can be linked with each other for large group meetings. All this is handled through a central administrative console as part of the paid service.

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