Google and Cisco have announced that they are working together to bring Cisco’s WebEx conferencing tools to Chromebooks and have also made key Cisco Unified Communications (UC) tools available within Gmail.
The push to put WebEx on Chromebooks would mean that anyone buying a device such as the one pictured above would have the Cisco software built in, allowing them to join video and audio calls direct from the device.
This could prove a real boost for both firms to sell their wares, in the face of strong competition from Microsoft with its Lync, Yammer and Skype tools that are being increasingly integrated into its raft of applications.
The two firms demoed the technology in action at the Enterprise Connect conference in Florida on Tuesday with Rowan Trollope, general manager of Cisco's Collaboration Technology Group, and Rajen Sheth, director of product management for Chrome for Business, appearing on stage to announce the work.
They also posted a video of themselves committing to this work after the event.
The two firms have also worked to bring other Cisco UC tools to Google’s Gmail service for business customers of both firms, as Saswat Panigrahi, product manager of Chrome for Business, explained in a blog post.
“Starting today if you use Cisco and Google Apps, features you love – like messaging, fax, click-to-call and Cisco presence – are visible alongside Gmail,” he said. An example image of this integration is shown below.
Trollope said in a blog post that the move would provide enormous productivity benefits for customers. "Imagine being able to join a WebEx meeting straight from a Google Calendar, or starting an instant meeting from the Google Contact Card and the Google people widget," he said.
"Being able to connect with others inside and outside the organisation by clicking on phone numbers or extensions displayed in Gmail or Google Apps. Rajen and I want that; we bet many of you do too."
The move underlines a growing unity between the two firms, as they signed patent deals earlier this year to avoid the threat of litigation and aim to work more closely together.
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