Google is taking on the conference room and collaboration in a big, bold new way. I’ve already told you about Hangout Meet but add to that Google Jamboard. Jamboard is aimed at being a whiteboard with collaboration across multiple sites with deep integration into G Suite for file collaboration and sharing. The 55″ 4K monitor comes with a stylus for interactions (it’s passive so no pairing required) and can even distinguish between the stylus and your finger. Think of drawing with the stylus and erasing with a finger.
Google states it is a merge of digital and physical creativity and having seen a demo and using it at Google Cloud Next today, it is mighty impressive.
The idea is to increase productivity. You have a whiteboard session that multiple users can interact with from different locations. That includes Drive and the rest of G Suite. You can then collaborate seamlessly and has a built-in camera so it can be the center piece of a conference room. While Google did not say specifically it was aimed at Surface Hub from Microsoft, it’s pretty clear this is aimed to take it on.
The responsiveness is impressive. In demoing it today, it was able to turn my handwriting into text without any issues and the functions built into it like file sharing and drawing are very easy to use.
The Jamboard will start at $4,999 with an annual maintenance fee of $600. That is a fraction of the cost of a Surface Hub. The question really comes down to ecosystem. If you are hip-deep in Google’s G Suite and other services, this makes perfect sense and is a powerful tool. If you are hip-deep in the Microsoft ecosystem? Not so much. But for the lower price take and the announcements around Windows support in Google Cloud Platform… maybe it does?