Zoom explained: Understanding (and using) the popular video chat app

In some ways, the Zoom videoconferencing app seemed to come from nowhere this year — even though it’s been around since 2013 and has long been highly regarded for its ease of use.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic erupted, first in China, then around the world. On Feb. 26, Zoom announced it had already added more new users in the first two months of 2020 than it had in all of 2019. Within a month, as the pandemic spread, office workers suddenly found themselves jumping on daily Zoom calls from the comfort of home in a desperate attempt to keep in touch with colleagues.

Fast forward another few months, and many of those same workers are officially suffering from Zoom fatigue.

Few companies have seen the kind of growth — and boosted name recognition — as quickly as the San Jose, Calif.-based videoconferencing platform. That growth also led to growing pains. In April — after a slew of security and privacy issues arose — Zoom CEO Eric Yuan announced that the company would stop developing new features for 90 days to address the problems. (This is when “Zoom-bombing” became a common phrase.)

Despite the furore, the company that same month announced it had 300 million daily meeting participants.

With most countries still in at least a partial lockdown and coronavirus spikes continuing, videoconferencing is here to stay. (Zoom is apparently so sure that’s the case that in July it launched Zoom for Home, an ill-conceived piece of hardware that assumed everyone participating on a video call wants as much of their home in view as possible.)

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.


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