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Google Touts Jamboard As Cloud Digital Whiteboard

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

More productive meetings? Google reveals ‘collaborative, digital whiteboard for the cloud’

Google believes it has the answer for businesses wishing to conduct collaborative and brainstorming meetings with staff.

It calls its offering Jamboard, and it is essentially a 55-inch 4K touchscreen that acts as a big digital whiteboard.

Google Jamboard

The screen acts as a traditional whiteboard, allowing users to jot down notes, as well as draw and erase with a chunky stylus and eraser, while at the same time being able to video conference with another worker in a different location.

Jamboard can also pull information from the web, and can connect with any Android or iOS smartphone or tablet.

jamboardIt also boasts an HD camera (webcam), speakers, and Wi-Fi, and can broadcast the meeting globally with Google Hangouts.

The screen itself is designed to be high portable, and it also has HDMI inputs and built-in Chromecast so staffers can view Netflix in the boardroom (after working hours presumably).

“At Google, we’ve set out to redefine meetings,” explained TJ Varghese, product manager G Suite in a blog post. “So today, we’re introducing Jamboard – a collaborative, digital whiteboard that makes it easy for your team to share ideas in real-time and create without boundaries. We’re moving the whiteboard to the cloud.”

Google last month rebranded Google Apps for Work as ‘G Suite’, and said it was a set of ‘intelligent’ applications that it believes will make businesses more productive by saving employees time and fostering collaboration.

“Jamboard makes it easy to enrich your brainstorm with the power of Google Search and your team’s work in G Suite. Grab images and content from the web and bring them straight into your ‘jam,’ blogged Verghese. “Pull in work from Docs, Sheets and Slides, or add photos stored in Drive. To capture your ideas clearly, Jamboard is packed with tools like sticky notes and stencils as well as intelligent features like handwriting and shape recognition.”

Once the meeting is completed, the whiteboard’s brainstorming ‘jam’ content is available in the cloud (i.e Google Drive), allowing the content to be shared or reviewed.

Google also points out that large touchscreens have traditionally been expensive, but Jamboard costs less than $6,000 (£4,930) and will be available for purchase next year.

A video of the Jamboard in action can be found here.

Rival Devices

Google is not the first to offer a product like this.

Surface HubMicrosoft of course famously launched its Surface Hub in earlier this year (after a delay). Redmond’s device costs $8,999 (£7,318) for a 55-inch screen, and an eye watering $21,999 (£18,000) for the larger 84 inch device.

Microsoft for its part insists that Surface Hub is doing better than expected, and it is increasing production in order to cope with demand for the giant Windows 10 tablet.

Sharp meanwhile offers its Aquos Board as an interactive display system, that is geared to be “much more than your typical interactive white boards.”

Unlike the above two devices however, Google’s Jamboard is competitively priced, and tightly integrated into the Google apps and cloud ecosystem.

Quiz: The Cloud in 2016!