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Big updates coming to Zoom, Google Meet and Teams

Video call services have evolved a ton over the past year. The frequency of remote work during the pandemic has prompted video call apps and services to add a slew of new features to the mix.

Just take a look at Zoom, for example. At the start of the pandemic, users dealt with Zoom bombing and other annoying issues caused by weak security. By April or May, new features had rolled out to clean up the video call app’s security settings.

And the new features weren’t all focused on security issues, either. There have been many exciting new features added to the mix to spruce up video call platforms, and new ones are still rolling out as we speak. Here’s what’s coming for a few of the popular video call platforms.

Zoom’s new features

Zoom just got a pretty significant update. The new features include:

  • Virtual receptionist: The Zoom Rooms Kiosk Mode is now available, and with it comes a virtual receptionist who can greet you or your guests safely using Zoom Rooms.
  • Use your phone as the in-room controller: Rather than touching a shared controller, you can now pair your iOS or Android mobile to get access to all room controls via the app, including the ability to start or join a meeting along with full audio, video and participant controls.
  • Share a whiteboard to Zoom Chat: If it’s a personal Zoom Room, you can also send it to your chat groups.
  • Meeting reactions: Rooms and Zoom for Home devices will now receive and show meeting reactions.
  • Real-time transcriptions: Noisy room? Rooms and computers now have real-time transcriptions, so you won’t have to miss an important update due to external noise.
  • Hands-free controls: A future update will also add more access to hands-free voice commands, including Alexa control.

Related: 11 best Zoom tricks you’ll wish you knew sooner

Google Meet features

Google Meet just got a new feature, too. This feature lets you quickly preview how you’ll appear to others before entering your Google Meet call. You can use it to confirm that peripheral devices are properly configured, to check your network connectivity and to understand the impact of noise cancellation on your audio.

If a problem is detected, you’ll see a warning and tips for troubleshooting common issues. For example, you can catch issues like:

  • An unintentionally muted microphone
  • A secondary display monitor with a missing headphone or speaker connection
  • Audio issues such as poor sound quality, loud audio or a mic that’s amplifying background noise
  • Issues with lighting and positioning

To use this feature:

  1. On the screen before joining a meeting, click the Check your audio and video button. 
  2. This will open the “green room,” where you can preview your audio and video.

Related: Zoom vs. Google Meet vs. Skype vs. GoToMeeting

Microsoft Teams notice

If you’re a Skype for Business Online user, you may want to take note of a change that’s coming to this platform. This system is moving to Microsoft Teams, so make sure you switch platforms before time runs out.

Users were warned back in mid-2019 that Skype for Business Online would be retired. If you overlooked the notice, you should make the change before the platform is shut down. You have six months before that happens, according to Microsoft.

It may take a while to accommodate the technical, process and user scenarios that can happen during this migration, so it would be smart to start now if you haven’t already. There are several step-by-step guides available for this via Microsoft Teams, so make sure to start the process stat.

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