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Zoom to shift to 'partner-only' model in China, suspend direct sales

SHANGHAI Zoom Video Communications will shift to a partner-only model in mainland China from Aug. 23, suspending direct sales to all customers in the region, the company said on Monday.

Zoom customers in China received an email on Monday informing them of the change, and telling them it would provide users with “better local support.”

In the email, seen by Reuters, Zoom listed Bizconf Communications, Suiri Zhumu Video Conference, and Systec Umeet – as partners that can offer its commercial service to customers in China.

Zoom has been distancing itself from its China operations, which had come under the scrutiny of human rights activists and privacy advocates.

The company announced in May that it would suspend new free user registrations in China and limit new user registrations to enterprise customers who sign up through authorized sales representatives.

But in June, Zoom came under fire when it was revealed it had shut an account belonging to a group of U.S.-based Chinese activists who were attending an online video group chat to memorialize the Tiananmen Square massacre.

In a blog post, Zoom confirmed it had temporarily shut down the accounts due to request from China’s government. It said that it had re-instated the terminated accounts and “will have a new process for handling similar situations.”

Months earlier, security researchers discovered that Zoom re-routed some calls through its servers in China, even if those calls were placed outside China.

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The company said that the re-routing took place in “extremely lmited circumstances” and that it took its mainland China data centers off of an approved list of backups for users outside of China.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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Categories
Tech

Facebook Unveils Messenger Rooms Shortcut on WhatsApp Web: Here's How to Use It

Users first have to update the latest WhatsApp Web version in order to create a room shortcut. However, the feature is not available on the mobile app yet.

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Tech

Facebook Now Allows Users to Livestream Video Calls from Messenger Rooms

Representative image. (Photo: Reuters)

Representative image. (Photo: Reuters)

The move bolsters Facebook’s efforts to grab a share of the coronavirus-driven boom in demand for video conferencing services which has turned Zoom Video Communications Inc into a household name.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: July 24, 2020, 11:15 AM IST

Facebook Inc said on Thursday it was rolling out a feature that would allow users to broadcast live a video call with up to 50 people. Users can invite people to join “Messenger Rooms”, including those who do not have a Facebook account, for group video calls and then broadcast the room live on any profile, page or group on the platform, the company said.

The move bolsters Facebook’s efforts to grab a share of the coronavirus-driven boom in demand for video conferencing services, which has turned Zoom Video Communications Inc into a household name. Other technology companies have rolled out similar features to attract users, with Alphabet Inc’s Google allowing users to host free video conferences on Meet.

Facebook said it was rolling out the feature in some countries on its platform and Messenger web starting Thursday and would soon expand to all countries where Messenger Rooms was available. Live broadcasts from Facebook pages doubled in June compared with a year earlier due to a jump in live streams since March, when several countries began imposing lockdowns and social distancing measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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Tech

Zoom Surpasses TikTok's Record of Most Downloads on Apple's App Store

FILE PHOTO:  A 3D printed Zoom logo is placed on the keyboard in this illustration taken April 12, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File photo

FILE PHOTO: A 3D printed Zoom logo is placed on the keyboard in this illustration taken April 12, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File photo

From April through June-end, Zoom was downloaded from App Store 94 million times more than TikTok’s previous record of 67 million downloads.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: July 21, 2020, 2:14 PM IST

US-based Video meet app Zoom app has broken Chinese short video making app TikTok’s record of most downloaded app on Apple App Store. From April through June-end, Zoom was downloaded from App Store 94 million times ’40 per cent more than TikTok’s previous record of 67 million downloads, reveals data from analytics firm Sensor Tower.

YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Google Meet, Messenger, WhatsApp, Netflix and Microsoft Teams rounded out the top 10 for the App Store. Overall, Zoom was downloaded 303 million times during Q2 on both App Store and Google Play Store. According to Sensor Tower data, the spread of COVID-19 made a dramatic impact on the app landscape.

Worldwide app downloads reached an all-time high of 37.8 billion in the second quarter – an increase of 31.7 per cent year-over-year. App Store installs grew 22.6 per cent to 9.1 billion, while Google Play saw 34.9 per cent growth, reaching 28.7 billion.

Worldwide app downloads reached an all-time high of 37.8 billion in Q2 2020, an increase of 31.7 per cent year-over-year. App Store installs grew 22.6 per cent to 9.1 billion, while Google Play saw 34.9 per cent growth, reaching 28.7 billion. Zoom in June announced that its revenue surged 169 per cent to $328.2 million in Q1 from a year earlier.


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Tech

Zoom to Hire Key Talent From India For Its New Technology Centre in Bengaluru

Zoom was founded by Chinese-American billionaire Eric Yuan | Image credit: Reuters

Zoom was founded by Chinese-American billionaire Eric Yuan | Image credit: Reuters

The new technology centre will provide extended support to Zoom’s existing R&D centres and engineering team based in San Jose.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: July 21, 2020, 1:35 PM IST

Zoom, the popular video conferencing app, is reaching new grounds in India as the company has announced the opening of its new technology centre in Bengaluru. It also said that it will be looking at hiring key talent from India in the coming years.

This seems like another move from the company to shake of its Chinese origin. Zoom is originally a California-based company, and since the founder and CEO Eric Yuan is originally from China, it has gained a lot of anti-China sentiments in the past few months.

The new technology centre will provide extended support to Zoom’s existing R&D centres and engineering team based in San Jose. Zoom is expected to start recruiting DevOps engineers, IT, security, and business operations personnel that will be working from home until the coronavirus pandemic has subsided.

Zoom also added that it has managed to gain an impressive user base ever since its launch. It said that during the January to April period it saw a 6,700 percent growth in free user signups in India while the paid user base has grown by at least four times due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Recently the company introduced an all-in-one appliance under its new Zoom for Home category designed to enhance the video conferencing experience. The first-ever Zoom for Home device, dubbed the DTEN ME, is produced by partner DTEN to create an immersive and productive workspace. Priced at $599, the device has a 27-inch screen. Other features include three built-in wide-angle cameras for high-resolution video; an 8-microphone array for crystal-clear audio in meetings and phone calls; and a touch display for interactive screen sharing, whiteboarding, annotating, and ideation.


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Tech

Zoom Unveils All-in-One Home Communications Device For Remote Workers Amid Covid-19 Crisis

To support business professionals working remotely, Zoom on Wednesday introduced an all-in-one appliance under its new Zoom for Home category designed to enhance the video conferencing experience. The first-ever Zoom for Home device is dubbed the DTEN ME produced by partner DTEN to create an immersive and productive workspace. Priced at $599, the device has a 27-inch screen. Other features include three built-in wide-angle cameras for high-resolution video; an 8-microphone array for crystal-clear audio in meetings and phone calls; and a touch display for interactive screen sharing, whiteboarding, annotating, and ideation.

“After experiencing remote work ourselves for the past several months, it was clear that we needed to innovate a new category dedicated to remote workers,” Eric S. Yuan, CEO of Zoom, said in a statement. “I’m so proud of the team for continuing to think outside the box and prove why Zoom is the best-unified communications platform that can meet the needs of all types of users.”

“Zoom for Home – DTEN ME” works right out of the box and seamlessly connects for anyone with a Zoom Meeting license, the company said. Zoom for Home is also compatible with all Zoom Rooms Appliances, including other hardware solutions from Neat and Poly, allowing users to select the hardware they need to create the perfect work-from-home communications experience across spaces such as living rooms and mounted displays, it added. Zoom for Home devices can be set up to be IT-managed remotely through the Admin Portal or self-managed by the end-user. Currently available for pre-order, the first Zoom for Home device is expected to ship in August.


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Tech

Gmail Is Morphing Into A Communications App With Chat, Rooms & Meet Integrations Incoming

The Gmail app will soon be very different from what you know of it. At least so far. Google says that in the coming weeks, G Suite users will get a more powerful version of the app that includes Gmail, Chat, Rooms and Meet in an attempt to make it a unified app for all Google communication platforms. This follows what Google has been attempting to do over the past few weeks when it integrated Meet into Gmail for iOS, Android and the web as well as integrating Google Chat in Gmail for the web. Google also confirms that Chat will also be integrated in Gmail for all users on Android and iOS as well, soon.

While you may be well versed with Gmail already, Chat, Rooms and Meet might be a bit confusing for those who aren’t already using them extensively. Chat allows you to message individuals or small groups of people. Meet is designed more for larger meetings where people can view and join—much like how Zoom and Microsoft Teams work, for instance. And then there is Rooms, which is more for shared projects with a chat feature integrated.

G Suite users will get a more powerful version of the app that includes Gmail, Chat, Rooms and Meet, sometime in the coming weeks

At the same time, Google says they are enhancing the collaboration features in Chat rooms by adding shared files and tasks. “With quick access to shared chat, important documents, and to-dos in one place, it’s easier for everyone in a group to stay on the same page. Plus, Chat lets you create rooms that include people outside your company, like contractors or consultants, so your group can be not only cross-functional but also cross-organizational,” says Javier Soltero, Vice President & GM, G Suite at Google.

This may further make the distinction between Chat and Rooms, but Google is clearly attempting to leverage all the tools in its arsenal as it competes with the Microsoft which has the Microsoft 365 suite that includes the Teams communication platform. Google also says that picture-in-picture video calls will soon be a part of Gmail, and Google Meet will soon be integrated will also see integrations with Docs, Sheets and Slides.

Google says this comes based on feedback from users about having to switch between apps to get work done, something they say interrupts the workflow. There will also be the option to enable Do Not Disturb when you are really running short of patience and calmness and also status messages such as “Out of office” to let people know they shouldn’t disturb you at the time.

The changes for G Suite users will be rolled out in the coming weeks, though not much changes for the consumer version of the Gmail app, at least for the time being.

Google is attempting to unify its arsenal of communication tools as it competes with Microsoft 365 and Zoom

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Tech

Want Zoom, Google Meet, Skype and Other Apps in One Place? NextCall Maybe Your Answer

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a major uptick in video conferencing services, with most sectors working from home. However, after Zoom shot into popularity, and other platforms such as Google Meet and Microsoft Skype firing salvos subsequently, things may have gotten a bit confusing for you as a user. It is this homologous usage experience that a new plugin, NextCall, is aiming to offer by integrating with your Google Chrome browser as an extension.

By installing NextCall, you can sign in with your Google or Outlook account – whichever you use for work. NextCall will gain access to your workplace calendar, and read your schedule to see when you have video conferences scheduled. Once this is scrolled, NextCall simply offers you a one-click interface to access any video call that you have scheduled – no extra fuss about which platform would you need to access for your next meeting, and rummaging through your emails to find the invitation link to the meeting.

NextCall presently has support for Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft’s Skype and Teams, which pretty much covers the most-used video conferencing platforms around the world by global teams. The app’s home page is fairly simplistic, and shows an earnest plugin’s interface that does not appear to have too many complications. A quick look through the site also reveals a crisp privacy policy, although it does not take you through the detailed clauses of privacy redressal steps for specific issues. The plugin has been built by Karthik Kalyan and Charles Scheuer, who are also colleagues that are working on Stilt Inc, a California-based financial startup. Kalyan and Scheuer also state that more video conferencing services and calendar/organiser platforms will be integrated with NextCall in future.

Upon initial impressions, NextCall has great potential to simplify all video conferences that you may have scheduled through the week. Video conferencing has come up as one of the most intensive and important fields in the technology space today, and NextCall’s idea of putting all calls at one place, which you can join from your browser with one click from an extension prompt, can be super useful in streamlining your overall work emails to a large extent.


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Tech

Zoom Planning Significant Investment, More Hiring in India; Seeks to Shed Links With China Amid Border Row

FILE PHOTO:  A 3D printed Zoom logo is placed on the keyboard in this illustration taken April 12, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File photo

FILE PHOTO: A 3D printed Zoom logo is placed on the keyboard in this illustration taken April 12, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File photo

“Some of the misconceptions are disheartening, especially those about Zoom and China,” Zoom’s president of product and engineering Velchamy Sankarlingam said in a blog post.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated: July 9, 2020, 1:53 PM IST

Popular video conferencing app Zoom is planning to make a significant investment in India over the next five years and ramp up hiring, a top company executive said as he sought to shed any links of Zoom with China ahead of competition from billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s just launched JioMeet.

“Some of the misconceptions are disheartening, especially those about Zoom and China,” Zoom’s president of product and engineering Velchamy Sankarlingam said in a blog post.

“We do recognise that as we continue to introduce ourselves to the Indian market, there has been some confusion about the facts as it relates to Zoom. We want to work through these”. Zoom, he said, is a US company that is publicly traded on the NASDAQ.

Zoom had seen spurt in users since COVID-19 lockdown but now faces competition from JioMeet, which has already seen about one million downloads within a week of launch on its promise of providing unlimited free video calling.

Zoom’s platform offers 40 minutes of video calling for free. In a blog on Medium, Sankarlingam said India is and will continue to be an important market for Zoom, and that the company is excited to build on the exciting opportunities it sees in the region.

“We also have plans for significant investment in the country over the next five years and beyond, including expanding our footprint and hiring more top talent in the region,” he said.

He added that Zoom is helping Indian businesses, government agencies, communities, school teachers, and other users stay connected. Sankarlingam emphasised that the company is keen to engage with stakeholders in India in the coming months to support key priorities such as Digital India, StartUp India and Skills India, as well as introducing them to Zoom.

“Zoom’s presence in India is represented on the ground by an office in Mumbai, as well as two Data Centres (one in Mumbai and one in Hyderabad),” he added.

Besides him, two of Zoom’s top executives – Aparna Bawa (Chief Operating Officer) and Sunil Madan (Corporate Chief Information Officer) – are of Indian descent, he noted. Sankarlingam pointed that there were some “disheartening” misconceptions, especially those about Zoom and China.

“Zoom has been clear about its identity: Zoom is a US company, publicly traded on the NASDAQ, founded and headquartered in San Jose, California,” he explained.

He added that like many global technology companies, Zoom has offices in China operated by subsidiaries of the US parent company. There have been calls for boycotting the app from certain sections in the country that referred to the app as Chinese. These calls had gained momentum after India banned 59 apps that had links with China.

Sankarlingam said Zoom understands its obligation to its users and takes security and privacy “incredibly seriously”. The company had announced a 90-day plan during the course of which Zoom released over 100 new features focused on privacy, safety and security.

In April, the Home Ministry had warned government officials against holding meetings on Zoom amid security concerns regarding the platform. The company had stated that it was in discussions with the government on the matter.


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Tech

JioMeet Adds Additional Security Feature: Hosts Can Block Unwanted Guests From a Meeting

Reliance Industries’ unlimited free video conferencing app JioMeet on Tuesday added additional security features to prevent Zoom-like attacks where hackers posted obscene images on screens. JioMeet, which allows up to 24 hours of free video conferencing that are encrypted and password-protected, has added a safety feature that gives the conference host to disallow guests from joining a meeting without sign-in and disclosing their identity.

The feature, company sources said, was added particularly in light of reports of obscene images appearing on screens during an online class being conducted on video-conferencing tool Zoom. JioMeet, in the very first week of going live, unveiled six features and enhancements including new functionalities for enterprise customers, sources said adding the new features prevent hackers from entering a conference.

The enhanced feature app is available on Google’s Play Store and will be shortly available on iOS, they said. The new features include personal meeting rooms with the ability to set one’s own meeting password to facilitate recurring meetings such as school classes and daily meetings. Also, a JioMeet user can now enlarge and pin a meeting participant by double-clicking the participant video. JioMeet also unveiled integration with traditional video conferencing solutions used by enterprise customers for collaboration across multiple offices from fixed locations. The use case is to offer flexibility for enterprises by allowing their employees to collaborate from office as well as home simultaneously, they said. The version also has single-use sign-on for enterprise users which allows users to use their existing user-ID and password. Enterprise users are now able to search and conference with other colleagues without exiting from the main conference. Also, in this version, JioMeet has refreshed the user interface and look.

JioMeet, which was launched on July 2 evening, supports HD audio and video call quality with up to 100 participants and offers features like screen sharing, meeting schedule features, and more. But unlike Zoom, it does not impose a 40-minute time limit. Calls can go on as long as 24 hours. The app allows conferences with participants only from the host’s organisation. Unlike Zoom, JioMeet users can switch from one device to another without dropping out of the call. Zoom allows sign up only with e-mail ID while JioMeet allows sign up with e-mail and mobile number. Inside the call, Zoom shows four participants at a time on a single mobile screen (for others, users need to scroll through multiple pages). JioMeet allows nine active participants on a single mobile screen.

Disclaimer: News18.com is part of Network18 Media & Investment Limited which is owned by Reliance Industries Limited that also owns Reliance Jio.