Google Hangouts Updates: Better Support for Small Businesses Credit: Google

A slew of new features for Google Hangouts makes Google's Web conferencing platform better for small businesses. The updates include better tech support and greater access for users on other video conferencing platforms. Google is also working on enhancements for Chromebox for meetings, a hardware accessory that makes it easier to set up remote meetings. Read on for more details about the new version of Google Hangouts.

Better support

Google Hangouts is already a pretty reliable service, and Google is building on that with a new tech support guarantee. Hangouts is now covered under the same terms of service as other Google Apps for Business  such as Drive and Gmail, which means that Google pledges 24/7 phone support for the app. That's a big deal for small business users who depend on the service to help them do their job, and can't afford to lose time due to technical difficulties.

Better access

The new update enables users to join Hangouts sessions from a variety of third-party services. Google announced that new partnerships will allow users of the Blue Jeans and InterCall videoconferencing platforms to dial in. And for the first time, anyone with a Google Apps customer account can now join a Hangouts meeting, regardless of whether or not they have an account on the Google+ social networking platform.

New features for Chromebox for meetings

Chromebox for meetings is a portable device that makes it easier to project business meetings to users who are joining remotely. The package includes a Chromebox – a small computer that establishes the connection – as well as an HD camera, microphone, speaker and remote control. Google announced that new features are coming, including dual-monitor support for individuals joining a meeting remotely, so that participants can be shown on one screen and presentations on the other. Meanwhile, personal calendar integration makes it easier to set up times to meet via your Chromebox.