Google Integrating G Suite With Third-Party Collaboration Apps

Updates to Google Hangout Meets and Calendar will enable enterprise users to collaborate more easily with others regardless of the conferencing technology their organization works with.

Digital Tools for Collaboration

Google has announced several new integrations in Hangouts Meet and Calendar that the company says will make it easier for enterprise teams to collaborate with each other using multi-vendor apps and services. 

Key updates include new interoperability between Hangouts Meet and video conferencing systems from other vendors; new smart features in Calendar that allow better interoperability with Microsoft Exchange; and integration between SAP ERP and Google Sheets. 

The new integrations build on the third-party support that Google has already built into some of its G Suite apps such as Add-Ons for Gmail and Google Docs and new ways to comment on Microsoft files stored in Google Drive. 

"The average employee uses 36 cloud services at work to collaborate or share files," said Rany Ng, director of product management at G Suite in a blog announcing the new integrations June 4. 

Google's goal is to enable G Suite users to collaborate with each other regardless of the conferencing technology they might be using, he said. 

One way Google will do this is by making Hangout Meets compatible with more of the video conference systems that enterprises typically use, such as those from Cisco and Polycom. 

In the next few weeks, enterprise users will be able to join a meeting in Hangouts Meet from their preferred conference equipment via the Pexip video collaboration platform, Ng said. The integrations will allow anyone to join Meet video calls with access to all conference features regardless of the actual conference system that they might be using. 

Google is also working on enabling support for Microsoft Skype for Business so enterprise users can directly join a meeting on Hangouts Meet from their Skype application itself. 

As part of the effort Google will soon begin natively supporting third-party conference tools in Calendar.  The feature will allow Calendar users to directly join a video meeting on their desktop or mobile device simply by clicking a link on their Calendar event invitation, Ng said. Video conference system providers will build add-ons for their products that support this ability to join a video meeting from Calendar or to schedule meetings from there. 

Cisco Webex for example is currently building an add-on that will let users schedule meetings from Google Calendar without the user needing to first download a plug-in. Others working on a similar integration are GoToMeeting RingCentral, LogMein, Arkadin and Vonage. The third-party conference add-ons will become available in Google's G Suite marketplace in the coming months. 

In addition Google will build on the interoperability that currently exists between Microsoft Exchange and Google Calendar. The update will give users a way to view and book resources stored in Exchange and Office 365, such as conference rooms and equipment, directly from G Suite. Like the other features, the new support will become available over the next few months, Ng said. 

The integration with SAP ERP meanwhile will give SAP users a way import their data directly into Google Sheets and analyze  on it using intelligent tools. The integration will eliminate the need for users to export data to CSVs and then upload them to Drive, the Google director said. 

Jaikumar Vijayan

Jaikumar Vijayan

Vijayan is an award-winning independent journalist and tech content creation specialist covering data security and privacy, business intelligence, big data and data analytics.