Zoom, the video conferencing platform, which helped so many people and businesses to hold virtual meetings in the heat of COVID-19 pandemic, has rolled out updates for an enhanced experience.
These updates include enhanced screen annotation for Zoom Meetings and Zoom Video Webinars, new hardware solutions for Zoom Rooms, and expanded management capabilities for Zoom Chat.
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Zoom notes that the upgrades were based on user experience based on customer feedback. The new features, according to the firm, will help users express themselves better, collaborate, and manage their communications more effectively.
Zoom has added vanishing pen annotation, auto-shapes to the mobile app, and more emojis to meeting reactions. The vanishing pen will enable a user to highlight text or objects on the shared screen without having to undo or erase highlight annotations. These annotations will disappear over time and users will not have to erase or undo them again. It will also help in gaining attendees’ attention. The new features also include whiteboard auto shapes on the Zoom app. This feature will help users draw accurate lines and shapes when annotating on their tablet. It is an essential tool for organisations for live whiteboarding during all-hands, training meetings, and customer or sales webinars. The feature automatically corrects annotations into their intended shape.
While the disappearing annotations will work on Windows, macOS, and Linux and will vanish within a couple of seconds, the firm said the shape annotations will be a feature of Android or iOS tablets.
Zoom is also adding more emoji reactions to the meeting. Users will also be able to choose a skin tone for emojis. Admins or account owners will be required to give permissions to meeting participants to use the feature for larger accounts.
Zoom account owners and account admins will be able to add a user’s manager to appear on an employee’s Zoom profile manually. Adding the manager to an employee’s profile can also be done automatically via SSO SAML Mapping. Customers can get this functionality by contacting Zoom Support or their CSM for assistance.
Facebook recently added support for Zoom on Portal TV, it enables a user to connect with their work colleagues or friends and family through Zoom on the largest screen in their home.
Another feature rolled out by Zoom is the new Immersive View feature to make meetings and classrooms more engaging and collaborative. This feature will allow the host to set a single custom background theme for their meetings or create layouts where participant videos are embedded within a scene that everyone shares, like a classroom or courtroom. This feature was first announced at Zoomtopia 2020 last October, and it is now rolling out for desktop users. Immersive View lets you create environments like boardroom, classroom, or auditorium depending on the event you’re hosting.
The company announced that Zoom is rolling out Immersive View for all Windows and macOS desktop clients using version 5.6.3 or higher. Immersive View is enabled by default for all free and Pro accounts. It can be enabled via the web portal for all other account types. Immersive View looks to reduce fatigue during long class sessions, meetings, or other events. It supports up to 25 participants as of now.
The new Zoom feature allows hosts to arrange video participants and webinar panelists into a single virtual background, bringing people together into one scene to connect and collaborate in a cohesive virtual meeting space. The new Immersive View feature will first need to be enabled by the admin or group head in their account settings. Even an individual user will need to enable it by going to Settings > Meetings > InMeeting (advanced) > Immersive View. After it is enabled, users can opt for Immersive View once the meeting has begun by clicking on View > Immersive View > Selecting the scene > Start.
When enabling Immersive View, hosts will have the option to either automatically or manually place participants into a virtual scene of their choosing. Hosts can also easily move participants around that scene and even resize a participant’s image for a more natural experience. Furthermore, the host can easily change the scene or revert back to Speaker or Gallery View at any time. Zoom has provided a few scenes to get users started, but they can also upload their own.
For those participants on Zoom desktop and mobile apps that do not support Immersive View will continue to see other meeting participants in either Gallery View or Speaker View, just with a simple black background. Others in the meeting will still view these unsupported participants in the Immersive View scene with their original backgrounds.
In-product privacy notifications
In the product update launched in April, Zoom users will see new in-product notifications designed to make it easier to understand who can see, save, and share their content and information when they join meetings and experiences hosted on Zoom. These notices are designed to help users make informed decisions about how they use Zoom without disrupting the frictionless Zoom experience our users count on.
Privacy notifications indicate who can save and share user content and information
Zoom users have the ability to save and share content from Zoom Meetings through the use of certain features, such as “chat” or “record,” depending on the account owner’s settings. In many cases, the organization or account hosting the meeting can view content and information for meetings and webinars hosted on their account. And the account owner and other participants can share content and information with others, including apps that they use, Zoom’s Lynn Haaland said.
“We are using the opportunity of this product update to embed feature-specific privacy notifications into the Zoom experience that help people understand, in context, who may be able to see and share the content and information that they share on Zoom’’, she said.
For example, if a user wants to know who can see the messages they send in Zoom’s chat feature, they can go to “Who can see your messages?”
Privacy notifications and apps
Zoom said users would soon, on its latest version, see privacy notifications when a meeting host or another meeting participant uses an app during a meeting. These apps can range from scheduling tools to transcription services and more.
Zoom said: “Our users will be able to install these apps to make the Zoom experience more productive, efficient, and seamless, and share content with the apps as needed for them to function properly. For example, a user may share meeting content with a transcription app so that the meeting can be transcribed.
“We believe the app ecosystem is a great thing for our users and that it will enable the next generation of collaboration. We also believe our users should be empowered to make informed decisions in context about whether and how they participate in that collaboration, knowing that other users or account owners may choose to share user content and information with third-party apps.’’
Account owner and settings
In many of these new notifications, zoom said users will see the term “account owner” in the notifications. As a reminder, the account owner is the individual or organization who sets up an account (like a company that obtains a license to use Zoom in its workplace).
Facebook, Instagram too
meanwhile, Facebook Messenger and Instagram DMs are also getting updated with a number of expressive new features.
New features are rolling out to Facebook Messenger and Instagram DMs that allow users to be more expressive in how they communicate.
The updates range from cosmetic enhancements like new themes, to the ability to respond to messages with a photo or video.
Here’s more about the new messaging features available now on Facebook and Instagram.
New Facebook Messenger features
Facebook Messenger users can now clean up their inbox without deleting chats and losing their message history.
A new swipe to archive feature in Messenger lets users keep their inbox tidy while being able to access inactive chats for future reference.
Swiping left on a chat from the Messenger inbox screen will reveal the option to archive it. Tapping on the purple button will send a chat to the new Archived Chats folder.
Users can access the Archived Chats folder by tapping on their profile photo on the Messenger mobile app and selecting Archived Chats. The folder will contain a full list of archived threads.
Tap to record
Audio messaging enthusiasts can now record messages hands-free in Messenger.
Instead long-pressing the microphone button to record a message, users can tap once to begin recording and tap again to finish the recording.
Facebook says there’s been a 20% increase in audio messaging among US users. This update makes it easier for people to get other things done while recording longer messages.
This feature will be coming to Instagram soon, but for now it’s exclusive to Messenger.
Messenger users have more options to personalize their conversations with the addition of new themes.
From the chat themes menu users can select either the new Star Wars theme or Netflix’s Selena: The Series theme.
These themes are available for Instagram DMs as well.
New Instagram DM features
Instagram has added the ability to send visual replies to direct messages on iOS (coming to Android soon).
This feature allows users to respond to a photo or video with one of their own.
When a message containing a photo or video is received, tap the camera icon to capture a photo or video to reply with, or to upload media from the device’s camera roll.
Inbox seen states
A slight update to the Instagram DMs inbox makes it easier for users to see when a recipient has viewed their message.
Users can now find out when a message has been read by checking their inbox. A text snippet will confirm the message has been seen.
This information was previously available to Instagram users, but it required opening the window. It’s a small but welcome quality of life improvement.
Sources: Facebook Newsroom, Gadgets 360, India Today, Blog.zoom.us and Search Engine Journal.