Google has announced the discontinuation of its digital whiteboarding app, Jamboard, and its associated hardware, with the service set to cease by the end of 2024. The company is pivoting towards integrating established third-party whiteboard tools such as FigJam, Lucidspark, and Miro across its Google Workspace. This integration aims to offer users a diverse range of features and collaborative experiences. The official statement from Google highlighted this transition, stating, “We are integrating whiteboard tools… across Google Workspace to enhance collaborative experiences.”
Detailed Timeline for Phased Shutdown
Google has outlined a comprehensive timeline for the phased shutdown of Jamboard. Beginning October 1, 2024, the app will enter a “view-only” mode, restricting users from creating or editing existing Jams. This phase will extend until December 31, 2024, post which all Jam files will be permanently deleted from the platform. To aid users during this transition, Google is ensuring the availability of resources and clear migration paths to alternative platforms, allowing for a smooth transfer of data “well before the Jamboard app winds down.”
Hardware Alternatives and Compensation Plans
The discontinuation also affects the Jamboard hardware, a 55-inch digital whiteboard priced at $5,000. The hardware will stop receiving updates and support from September 30, 2024. Google is directing users towards alternatives such as the Google Meet Series One Board 65 and Desk 27 for those in search of new digital whiteboarding solutions. Acknowledging the impact on educational institutions, Google has committed to compensating them for their Jamboard devices and facilitating the shift to other whiteboarding options.
User Feedback and Market Dynamics
The decision to phase out Jamboard is influenced by user preferences for the advanced features provided by third-party solutions, including infinite canvas, templates, and voting functionalities. This move aligns with the evolving dynamics of the digital whiteboard market, where competitors like Apple and Microsoft have introduced their offerings, namely consumer-facing Freeform apps and the Surface Hub 3. While Jamboard users represent a smaller segment of Google Workspace's customer base, the company recognizes the change's implications and extends its gratitude to its diverse user community, expressing, “We're grateful to the consumers, educators, students, and businesses who have used Jamboard since its launch in 2016.”
Continued Focus on Core Content Collaboration
With this shift, Google aims to concentrate its efforts on enhancing core content collaboration across its primary services, including Docs, Sheets, and Slides. The integration of third-party whiteboarding tools is seen as a step towards leveraging the partner ecosystem to bring innovative collaboration experiences to Google Workspace. The company's commitment to ensuring a seamless transition for its users is evident in its detailed communication and support during this period of change.
Microsoft's Whiteboard for Windows and Office
While Google is shuttering its whiteboard collaboration service, Microsoft's own Whiteboard continues to be maintained across Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams. Whiteboard integrates with the inking capabilities of Microsoft Office to bring content to a screen that can be used by multiple users across devices.
Functional locally or online, the service works with mouse, keyboard, pen, and touch. Documents sync automatically to the loud for use on any PC or smartphone at a later date and inviting another user is as easy as sharing a link.