As more businesses delay the return to the office, Zoom looks set to keep thriving in a hybrid work setup. To build on that momentum, the communications platform is introducing a raft of new updates that span meetings, chat and even phone calls.
The neatest new feature rolling out today are gesture-activated reactions for iPad. Now, when you raise your hand or give a thumbs up during a meeting it will automatically show the corresponding icon in your video panel. The broader "non-verbal feedback" function needs to be activated first.
For now, "Raise Hand" and "Thumbs Up" are the only gesture-supported reactions, though that could change in the future. The others are "slow down," "yes" and "no," while the standard emoji also include clapping hands, heart, tears of joy, open mouth and party popper (celebration). The gist of non-verbal feedback is to allow participants to communicate with the host while maintaining the flow of a meeting. Using physical gestures may help novice Zoomers to express themselves without the fear of mishaps.
As mentioned, this latest update is a biggie, but how much of it you notice depends on the parts of Zoom you actually use. For Meetings, there's a new Focus Mode that only shows participants the host and the content they are sharing. As its name implies, the feature is designed to cut out distractions. You can now also seamlessly transition a meeting from mobile to desktop and vice versa. Plus, admins can limit screen sharing when a guest joins a meeting.
In addition, Zoom is making the chat sidebar easier to navigate with public and private channel markers. Now, the display will generally show fewer chats and channels per group, but you'll be able to expand it to see more activity. Zoom is also once again moving the search function to the left side. As for calls, Zoom Phone users are getting more usage metrics, group call monitoring privileges and a privacy feature that prevents others from accessing shared line calls.