Google Hangouts vs WebEx
Last updated: March 10, 2017
Google Hangouts is a live video chat app. It allows to share your screen, collaboratively draw on a whiteboard, edit Google Docs documents, create broadcasts for the unlimited number of viewers. Splitted into group chat app and videoconferencing app
Web conferencing lets you connect with anyone, anywhere, in real time. WebEx combines desktop sharing through a web browser with phone conferencing and video, so everyone sees the same thing while you talk.
Latest news about Google Hangouts and WebEx:
10.03.17. Google splits Hangouts into Chat and Meet. Google is making massive changes to Hangouts to make it more business-friendly. The service will be splitted into two separate apps: Hangouts Meet, a videoconferencing app, and Hangouts Chat, a Slack-like messaging app designed for teams. Meet is a revamped version of Hangouts' video calling features, with a few new additions designed for businesses. Like the old Hangouts, it supports video calls of up to 30 people and participants can join via their desktop or the mobile app. While anyone with a Gmail account can use Meet, Hangouts Chat is just for Google's enterprise users. Essentially a full-on Slack competitor, the service allows teams within organizations to chat and supports a variety of third-party integrations, including bots and other productivity apps. Google also created its own bot for the app, which will schedule meetings on your behalf.
24.11.15. Google Hangouts now allows to make videocalls to those who don't have Google account. Google now allows you to invite “guests” into a Hangouts meeting, even if they don’t have (or don’t want) a Google account. This will make it easier for you to do all your communications, at least on the video conference aspect, through this particular medium. The process has also been made simple and painless (or so we hope). All it would take is for you to invite the guests, and for them to accept through a few taps or so. They will be labeled as “external guests” and Google users will be able to invite them to a Hangouts through Google Calendar. They need to click the external link in the event description, then input their name, preferably not a silly nickname as this is supposed to be a professional conference. After doing those two simple steps, they will now be able to be part of the meeting and chat with you and your other colleagues for the duration of the virtual meeting.
13.10.14. Google Hangouts is available as a standalone Chrome app for Windows and Chromebooks. Google Hangouts users can now chat and make calls from their desktops without opening their browser. Google Hangouts is now a Chrome app for Windows and Chrome OS computers. It can be installed on Mac OS X computers that also have Chrome but isn’t yet fully supported. The app provides all of your active chats on the desktop for easy access. More important though is the support for voice calls through the app, right on your computer. And Google Voice users will benefit from the Voice integration with Hangouts, meaning access to voicemail and the ability to send and receive SMS.
11.09.14. Google Hangouts adds voice calls to mobile app. Google continues to unify its messaging services under one app by adding free voice calling and a number of other Google Voice features to Hangouts. Android users can make free voice calls as soon as they update to the newest version of Hangouts, while web and iOS users will have access to free calls immediately. Hangouts users are also getting access to some Google Voice features: Calls made from within the Hangouts client now feature a user’s Google Voice phone number as caller ID, and calls to that number automatically are being answered through the Hangouts app. Users will also be able to send SMS text messages through Hangouts, and Google Voice voicemail messages will start to show up in Hangouts conversational streams.
31.07.14. Hangouts unlinked from Google+, becomes a part of Google Apps For Business. Until now, you had to have a Google+ account to use Hangouts if you were a Google Apps user. Starting today, that requirement is gone. Anybody with a Google Apps account will now be able to start or join a meeting from their desktop or their dedicated Chromebox for Meetings device. Hangouts is also now coming to Google Apps for Business. While users on Google’s paid accounts could always use Hangouts (assuming their admins allowed it), this change means that Hangouts is now covered by the same SLAs as the rest of Google’s services like Gmail and Drive. Lastly, IT administrators can better manage meetings right from the Google Apps Admin Console with options like remotely starting, muting and ending a meeting.
01.07.14. Google Hangouts will no longer require a plugin for Chrome. Starting next week video conferencing service Google Hangouts will work in Chrome without the need to install any plugin. Other Hangout-compatible browsers (IE/Firefox/etc.) will still need the plugin — but Chrome will now have Hangouts support baked right in. Between the transition to HTML5, new cross-browser protocols like webRTC, and even platforms like Unity trying to go plugin free, it’s going to be really, really hard to convince users to install plugins moving forward — so if your big idea requires one, you’ll want to find another way.
09.06.14. Google wants to embed its video chat in every business app. Google is being serious about pushing its video chat service Google+ Hangouts into enterprise sphere. In February this year it released the video conferencing system for meeting rooms based on Chromebox, then integrated Hangouts with leading video conferencing systems Polycom and Cisco and recently released the video chat plugin for Outlook. Now Google offers all developers of business apps to embed Hangout button into their products (this button allows to instantly launch video call). And many of them already accepted this proposal. For example, Hangout button video is already available in Salesforce CRM, customer support app Zendesk, project management system Smartsheet, enterprise social network Zoho Connect, recruiting software Zoho Recruit, etc.
20.05.14. Google created Hangouts video chat plug-in for Outlook. Some Google Apps users instead of native email solution - GMail are using desktop version of MS Outlook. And so far they didn't have the ability to chat and make video calls (like GMail users). Of course, there is an integration of Outlook and Microsoft Lync, but companies that are using Google Apps hardly deploy Microsoft Lync. So Google decided to fix this problem and released Google Hangouts plugin for MS Outlook. It allows to easily make video calls to Outlook contacts, organize group videoconefernce calls with up to 10 people and schedule video meetings in Outlook's Calendar. Recall recently Microsoft rolled out Skype integration for Outlook.com, but it works only with the online version of Outlook.
13.02.14. Google Hangouts now can connect to Polycom, Cisco and other videoconferencing systems. Recently we reported that Google unveiled video conferencing system for meeting rooms Chromebox for Meetings. But the adventures of Google in this area haven't ended with this news. It turns out that Vidyo (the maker of enterprise video communication systems) provides backend for Google Hangouts. And this company added to this backend a new service VidyoH2O, which allows Google Hangouts users to participate in videomeetings with corporate videoconferencing systems - Polycom, Cisco, Avaya, Lifesize and others (supporting H.323/SIP standards). So, there is a great potential for establishing intercompany video meetings. However, this service is not free - it costs from $99/month per concurrent user.
10.02.14. Google unveiled video conferencing system for meeting rooms. Enterprise video conferencing systems (like Polycom, Tandberg ...) cost tens and hundreds thousands of dollars, and their installation and maintenance - is a difficult task. On the other hand videochat services (like Skype, GoToMeeting ...) can't provide the effect of presence that will let business users to completely abandon trips. Therefore, gasoline and airline tickets are still among the the main expenditures in many companies. Google decided to fight this evil and launched the professional video conferencing system based on Google Hangouts - Chromebox for Meetings. It costs just $999 + $250/year (the subscription fee is paid starting from the second year). As you can understand from the title, the system is based on the Chromebox - Google's desktop computer running Chrome OS. In addition, it includes Logitech HD camera, microphone, remote control and any LCD TV.
2013. Voice calling is back in Google Hangouts. As you know, in result of the epic merger of Google communication services (GMail Chat, Google Talk and Google Hangouts) only Google Hangouts remained, but it had no voice feature (only chat and video chat). So, the ability to make VoIP-calls also disappeared from GMail and it was unpleasant surprise for many users. That's why Google (after just 2 months) is adding voice to Hangouts. Now you can call over the Internet from GMail, Google+ and Hangouts app for Chrome. You can make PC2PC or PC2Phone call. You can also connect participants to Hangouts conference via VoIP call. But to make sure that we won't die of happiness, Google is not adding voice to the Hangouts mobile apps (for iOS and Android). So, for while you can only call from the desktop.
2013. Google unites GTalk and Hangouts. Google engineers have so much work to do (mostly for Google Glass), that they simply don't have time to fix other (useful) products. For several years we have been waiting when Google finally unites its separated communication services in order to create competitive Skype alternative. And finally, they spent few weeks and implemented the half of this task. Google Talk messenger is now replaced by Google Hangouts videochat. Google has released two Hangouts mobile apps: for Android and iOS. In addition, Hangouts is available in GMail and Google+. All your Hangouts chat apps are synchronized, so you can start conversation on your computer (in GMail) and continue it out of the office on your phone. In chat you can insert pictures and videos from Youtube. Video chat supports up to 10 people simultaneously.
2012. Google offers Google+ as an enterprise social network. Enterprise social networks a la Facebook have become very popular business tool: companies have learned to use it efficiently and vendors are ready to eat each other for a place in the market (for example, Microsoft ate Yammer). Meanwhile Google, in its business suite Google Apps haven't provided the social networking tool so far. So Google decided to fill this gap with Google+ for Google Apps, which has become available for everybody today. It allows you to use your company page on Google+, not only as a front-end in the social network, but also as an internal collaboration and communication tool. Employees can add messages that are visible only within the company and can't be shared to public. They can also start video conferencing meetings via Hangouts, which will be open only for other employees (and invited external parties).
2012. Google replaces GMail Video chat with Google Hangouts. Google should have integrated the variety of its Chat/voice/video services and applications long time ago. And just now they start to do it with the simplest and most effective step - replacement of GMail's video chat with Google Hangouts. Both services are using the same browser plug-in and the same authorization base. But Hangouts provides much more features: free videoconferencing for 10 participants, screen-sharing, whiteboarding, collaborative editing of Google Docs, simultaneous Youtube-video co-watching, webinars, etc. (there is a even a catalog of third-party apps that work with Hangouts). Also, now you can make video calls not only to contacts who are in GMail, but also to those who is in Google +, and not only in browser, but also on Android, iPhone or iPad. Google will be rolling out the new feature during 2 weeks.
2012. Google+ Hangouts comes to iPad and iPhone. It's very strange that Apple doesn't really try to become the video chat king, and even doesn't prevent the competitors of using its platform for this matter. Though it was Apple's iPhone that made mobile video chat popular and Skype position not so strong. But since then Apple's video chat app Facetime didn't progress, and competitors continue to use it. Yesterday Google released a new Google+ app for iPad with Hangouts video chat and updated Google+ for iPhone app, that now also supports Hangouts. Recall, Google Hangouts allows you to organize online video meetings with up to 10 users - for free. In addition to iOS, Google's video chat works on Android smartphones and tablets, as well as on any computer via a web browser and a small plug-in.
2012. Free Webex is already available. As Cisco promised, its web-conferencing service WebEx is becoming free. True, the number of free conference hosts (i.e. users that can create and manage online meetings) was reduced from 3 to 1. But the free disk space was increased up to 1 GB. The free online meeting can support up to 25 people simultaneously and provide the variety of tools: screen-sharing, whiteboard, remote control, file sharing, presentations, VoIP, video in HD-format, recording. You might be surprised that the service is currently in Beta status (after all, WebEx has been the web-conferencing market leader for many years). The fact that it's not just the free version. It's a new version of WebEx, which in addition to web-conferencing adds a workspace for collaboration before and after online meeting.
2011. Google adds phone conferencing to Hangouts. What was the Skype's killer feature that made it super-popular? Video calling. And on what Skype is making money? On IP-telephony. Google wasn't able to repeat the same trick with GTalk/GMail/Google Voice. Because people got used to Skype already. But maybe Google will succeed with the rapidly growing group video chat Google Hangouts. That's what Google is going to do - integrate Hangouts with IP-telephony. The new tool in Google Hangouts already allows to call landlines and mobile phones and connect people that are not currently by a computer to the online meeting. This is especially important for business meetings when you need to connect client or partner to your meeting. However, meanwhile these external calls work only in the United States and Canada (and work for free). But it's no doubt that soon it will become available in other countries via paid Google Voice calls.
2011. WebEx adds free version, online office workspace. Finally, the most popular Web-conferencing service Cisco WebEx is getting closer to small business. At the Collaboration Summit in Miami Cisco has introduced the new version of Webex and the subscription free plan for 3 people and 250 MB of space. In addition to basic functions (screen-sharing, whiteboard, online presentations, document collaboration, VoIP and instant messaging) the free version also provides video conferencing (but not in HD-quality). Of course, there are several other web-conferencing services that offer free version, but WebEx differs by high quality and extensive functionality. According to the Cisco representatives the free version is already available, but we couldn't find it on the WebEx site. So, let's wait. We also have to wait till Q1 2012 for the new version of WebEx, which includes the very interesting feature - online workspace.
2011. Google+ launched pages for companies and brands. After Google opened its social network Google+ for Google Apps business users, it didn't make enterprises waiting for a long time with the next step. Today it added an opportunity to create pages for companies and brands, like on Facebook. Many companies have already done it. Here are examples of business pages: Toyota, Pepsi, FC Barcelona, Angry Birds. And though it's not possible to select vanity URLs yet, spend 5 minutes and create a page for your company right now. You can do it here: plus.google.com/pages/create. Company page in a social network - is a great way to make your business closer to your customers and partners (and to find new ones). Of course, meanwhile the Google + Pages are less functional than Facebook Pages: you can't publish RSS-feed, only one person can add messages, widgets for websites and apps are not ready yet. But there are two major benefits.
2011. Google + Hangouts turned into full-featured web-conferencing tool. Lebanese developer's hack, which allowed text collaboration in Google+ Hangouts didn't remain a hack so long. Today's Google+ update has added much more new features to Hangouts. First, it's an opportunity to share your screen (Screen-sharing). Second, is the ability to collaboratively draw on a whiteboard. Third, is the ability to collaboratively edit Google Docs documents. Fourth, is the ability to create broadcasts for the unlimited number of viewers (the number of active participants is limited to 10). Fifth, Google Hangouts videochat now works on Android-smartphones. And finally, sixth, Google has opened the official API for Hangouts, so you don't need to hack it, as the Lebanese programmer in order to create your own application for Hangouts. By the way, the social network Google + is now open to all. Is your company ready for this?