In a move that signals a significant shift in the landscape of digital whiteboarding solutions, Google has announced that it will be shutting down its Jamboard platform by the end of 2024. Once touted as Google’s answer to Microsoft’s Surface Hub, Jamboard was designed to offer real-time collaboration through a 55-inch 4K touchscreen. However, despite its innovative features, the platform is now set to join the list of Google products that have been laid to rest.
The Rise and Fall of Google Jamboard
Introduced in 2016, Jamboard was Google’s first-party digital whiteboard offering, positioned as a “collaborative, digital whiteboard built for the cloud.” Priced at $4,999, each “Jam” document could be accessed from other Jamboards, mobile apps, and web clients, with all work saved to Google Drive. The hardware supported 16 simultaneous touch points and boasted a 120 Hz touch scan rate.
However, Google cited the platform’s small user base within the Workspace customer community as a reason for the closure. Google is now shifting its focus towards “core content collaboration across Docs, Sheets, and Slides.”
The Competition Heats Up
The decision comes at a time when Microsoft has just announced the 50 and 85-inch Surface Hub 3, loaded with features like smart rotation, portrait mode, and Microsoft Teams Rooms experience. Last year, Apple also threw its hat in the ring by introducing the Freeform app, available on all iPhones, iPads, and Macs.
Transition Plans and Third-Party Integrations
To ease the impact of the shutdown, Google is enhancing its partnerships with FigJam, Lucidspark, and Miro, integrating these third-party whiteboarding apps across Google Workspace. These apps are also slated to come to Series One Desk 27 and Board 65 devices by Avocor, the latter of which was already marketed as a replacement for the original Jamboard.
Google is also offering a “retention and migration path for Jamboard data,” allowing users to import their existing Jams into FigJam, Lucidspark, and Miro.
What it Means for Educational Institutions
Google has acknowledged that it will work “directly with educational institutions to compensate them for their Jamboard devices,” although the details will vary on a partner-by-partner basis.
The Surface Hub’s Path Forward
Microsoft’s Surface Hub, on the other hand, continues to gain traction. The newly announced Surface Hub 3 comes with enhanced Microsoft Teams Rooms capabilities, offering more flexibility and customization options. It supports external peripherals like microphones, speakers, and cameras, adding to its appeal in collaborative work environments.
As Google shifts its focus to other areas of content collaboration, the question remains: Who will fill the void left by Jamboard in the ever-evolving landscape of digital collaboration? Time will tell, but for now, the Surface Hub appears to be leading the pack.