Skip to main content

These new Zoom features take on Teams and Outlook in a serious way

Zoom shared at its Zoomtopia event on Tuesday details about its new business services, which will include Mail and Calendar clients in addition to Team Chat, Whiteboard, Phone, and Meetings options.

Zoom will soon make its Mail and Calendar offerings available as a beta release, in an effort to compete with brands such as Google and Microsoft, which already have established mail and calendar services, for both general and professional customers. These include Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace. Notably, Zoom’s in-house expansion comes as both Microsoft and Google place a greater focus on their professional services.

Related Videos
Zoom has announced its Mail and Calendar clients, which will soon be available in beta.

Zoom plans to have the Mail service work similarly to Microsoft Outlook, adding that the service is end-to-end encrypted. In conjunction with the Calendar, they are the flagship product of the suite. The Mail and Calendar products will then work with other features, including Team Chat, Whiteboard, Phone, and Meetings, in a single program so that users won’t have to leave the Zoom platform in order to complete their work.

With this model, Zoom aims to increase productivity, and maximize security for its end users, many of which are small businesses that might not have adequate IT staff to maintain intricate email servers, the brand noted.

“The Zoom Mail and Calendar Services (beta) are targeted at small-to medium-business customers who particularly value email privacy,” Zoom head of product Joseph Chong said in a company blog.

The brand is also confident that potential clients might find their new options viable because many are likely using Zoom as their video conference option already, The Verge noted.

Having a Calendar feature built into Zoom will make it easier to save and find your Zoom links for upcoming meetings, among other housekeeping tasks.

In addition to the beta features, the brand also announced Zoom Spots, which is a feature that urges workers on a video conference to communicate with their cameras enabled. The feature is set to roll out in early 2023.

Another upcoming feature is Zoom Virtual Agent, which is an A.I.-powered chatbot set to help customers with immediate issues. It will also be available in 2023.

Editors' Recommendations

Firefox just got a great new way to protect your privacy
Canva in Firefox on a MacBook.

If you’re fed up with signing up for new accounts online and then being perpetually spammed in the days and weeks after, Mozilla has an idea that could help. The company has just announced its Firefox Relay feature is being directly integrated into its Firefox web browser, and it could help guarantee your privacy without any extra hassle.

Firefox Relay works by letting you create email “masks” when you sign up for new accounts. Instead of entering your real credentials into the sign-up field, Firefox Relay provides you with a throwaway address and phone number to use. Any messages from the website -- such as purchase receipts -- are then forwarded to your real email address, with all the sender’s tracking information stripped out to protect your privacy.

Read more
Microsoft’s Bing Chat waitlist is gone — how to sign up now
Microsoft Edge browser showing Bing Chat on an iPhone.

It appears Microsoft is doing away with the long Bing Chat waitlist. As originally reported by Windows Central, new users who sign up for the waitlist are immediately given access to the AI chatbot, without having to wait, and Digital Trends has confirmed this to be the case.

Microsoft hasn't officially killed the waitlist, but it should go away in short order. On Tuesday, Microsoft bolstered OpenAI's launch of the GPT-4 model by confirming that it was the model behind Bing Chat. Microsoft is also set to host an AI-focused event on Thursday, where we expect to hear about AI integrations in Microsoft's Office apps like Word and PowerPoint. It's possible Microsoft could remove the waitlist during the presentation.

Read more
Finally, you’ll soon be able to use 3D avatars on Teams calls
Laptop sitting on a desk showing Windows 11's built-in Microsoft Teams experience

Microsoft is planning to roll out a new feature for Teams and Zoom that will allow you to substitute your live camera feed for a 3D avatar when on a video call.

The new feature is set to launch in May, according to Microsoft's product road map. The 3D avatars will be available in many "customizable body types, skin tones, hair colors and hairstyles, clothes, and facial features, as per prior announcements from Mesh for Teams," according to Ars Technica.

Read more