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Is GMeet Google's Attempt at Teleconferencing?

April 09, 2015

Google has already made some noteworthy strides in terms of helping to get users to connect to one another regardless of location. Already plenty of users turn to Google Docs to pass documents back and forth, and several other tools also come into play. But Google, which had quite the hand in developing Web-based real time communications (WebRTC) to begin with, looks to be expanding its focus thanks to what may be a new teleconferencing system currently being called GMeet.

GMeet, first spotted by Google+ user Florian Kiersch, seems to be entirely built on the WebRTC concept, though not much else is known about the service, and so far, Google's staying comparatively mum. The current reports suggest that GMeet will use both audio and video communications systems, with access to Google Drive to add file transfer to a meeting. Dropbox will also, reportedly, be on hand. The screenshots that leaked out, meanwhile, are from a Web-based service, as opposed to a mobile app, which suggests that this one will be of particular use in a full office environment.

Gmeet sign in screenshot

Other reports suggest that users can schedule and join calls with one click as opposed to dialing numbers. This is a reasonable suggestion, and some have previously suggested that WebRTC will make this kind of thing routinely available. But there's no concrete mention of this, so take it with the appropriately-sized grain of salt. Additionally, references to GMeet have cropped up since as far back as 2011, so we may well be seeing some of those early code snippets come together in a more organized fashion. Indeed, some parts of GMeet have reportedly slipped into things like Hangouts, to offer whiteboard functionality or screen sharing tools.

One point, however, hangs over the entire concept: Google's I/O event is a little under two months out, so we could easily be seeing something more formal released then, or even potentially before then so as to take advantage of the buzz to own a news cycle or two. The components are certainly familiar enough, so seeing such assembled in a somewhat unusual fashion to create a whole new mechanism just makes sense. The market is certainly ripe for such offerings, especially as the mobile workforce continues to step up and thus require a way to easily connect among workers. Google would be releasing such a tool into a very crowded environment, however, and even with Google's massive name recognition factor, it might have a tough time finding an audience among the sheer number of videoconferencing and telepresence tools already on hand.

Only time will tell just what comes of these new reports, but GMeet could be poised to be Google's latest entrant into the productivity stakes. It's already got quite a bit to offer its users on this front, and adding one more point would only make Google's case stronger as a business tool. 

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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