Google starts selling corporate videoconferencing product

SAN FRANCISCO Thu Feb 6, 2014 2:25pm EST

A Google logo is seen at the entrance to the company's offices in Toronto September 5, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

A Google logo is seen at the entrance to the company's offices in Toronto September 5, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Chris Helgren

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc unveiled a videoconferencing system for businesses on Thursday, the Internet search company's latest effort generate revenue from corporate customers.

Google said it was partnering with Asus, Hewlett-Packard Co and Dell to offer a specialized version of its Chromebox PC that comes with videoconferencing gear, including a video camera and speakers.

The first Chromebox for meetings to be available is made by Asus and goes on sale in the U.S. on Thursday for $999, Google said. Customers can also pay a $250 annual service and management fee, though the first year is included in the product's sales price.

The product uses Google's free Hangouts video chat technology to connect up to 15 separate video streams from users in different locations.

The product will put Google in competition against Cisco Systems Inc and Polycom Inc, which make the video conferencing systems used by many corporations.

The world's largest Internet search engine, Google makes the vast majority of its revenue from advertising. But Google also sells services to corporate customers, including special versions of its online apps such as email and word processing, as well as Chromebook laptops aimed at business users.

(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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