It's been a banner year for Zoom. As teleconferencing took over all of our work calls and family gatherings in 2020, Zoom became a household name for communicating with others during times of social distancing.
Now Zoom is looking to expand beyond its video chat app. Reportedly, the company is looking to expand in some key areas that could see it become a real competitor to the likes of Google and Microsoft.
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As reported by The Information (opens in new tab), Zoom is poised to launch its own email and calendar services, a direct response to the likes of Google Workspace and Microsoft Outlook. The report says the email service is already in the works, with a testing phase potentially kicking off in 2021. There's less imminent information on the calendar service, so we don't expect to hear much about that any time soon.
Emails and calendars appear to be only part of Zoom's expansion strategy. Job postings (opens in new tab) mention integration with services like Asana and Dropbox – key apps for the virtual office workflow of the current times. All of these sounds like wise moves for the company, considering its strong position in the teleconferencing market. Of course, we'll have to wait and see how this reliance on video chat apps fares as more workers (hopefully) start returning to physical spaces in the new year.
In the meantime, Zoom has been doing a lot with its existing services. A version of the program specifically designed for Apple M1 Macs is available now. This silicon-focused version of Zoom should use less of your Mac's battery.
Not to be outdone, Zoom's key competitors are making moves too. Most recently, Microsoft Teams added a killer new feature, an AI-controlled noise suppression mode. Teams dealt another blow to Zoom recently with its Together Mode, which transports all participants in the call to mock locations like auditoriums and coffee shops. Meanwhile, WhatsApp is looking to add a long overdue feature of its own: voice and video calls for the browser-based version of the app.
Competition breeds innovation, and it seems all the major video and chat programs are working overtime to outdo each other during this time of virtual meetings and telecommunication. We can expect to continue to rely on them for at least part of 2021, so it's good to know that more support and new features are on the way, no matter which apps your prefer for your virtual workflow.