Google is bring voice commands to Hangouts Meet hardware

Today at the Google Next conference in San Francisco, the company announced it would soon be enhancing Google meeting hardware to allow voice commands.

For many people setting up meetings remains a major problem and pain point. The company wants to bring the same voice-enabled artificial intelligence it uses for tools like Google Assistant to meeting hardware. To that end, the company introduced Voice Commands for Meet today.

This will allow users to say, “Hey Google, start the meeting.” And this is just a starting point. They promise to be adding additional commands over time. They will be adding this functionality later this year.

Just last Fall, the company launched the Hangouts Meet hardware program, which provided a way for Meet customers to launch meetings using Google or other hardware such as the traditional Cisco or Polycom hardware found in many conference rooms. Google reports that customers have set up thousands of these Hangouts Meet-enabled meeting rooms.

By providing some simple commands to set up the meeting, invite participants, join a meeting and so forth using your voice, it can greatly simplify the sometimes complicated activity of meeting administration, which even after all this years often seems unnecessarily complicated and frustrating for many people.

Users are certainly getting used to interacting with devices thanks to Google Home, the Amazon Echo and similar devices.

It’s worth noting that Google is not alone in trying to bring voice-enabled hardware into the meeting room. Last November, Cisco announced Cisco Spark Assistant to bring voice commands specifically to Cisco meeting room hardware. The underlying the voice recognition technology comes from the MindMeld acquisition, a conversational AI startup that Cisco bought in May 2017 for $125 million.

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