Zoom updates Chat to add personal notes and Meetings to improve email integration

The company is planning a whiteboard feature this year as well as a collaboration with Oculus Horizons Workrooms.

A man making a Zoom call.

Image: fizkes/Shutterstock

Zoom is bringing status update information from email clients to its chat and meeting room features. The company announced this and other product news at its Zoomtopia 2021 event. 

The new features make it easier to see who is missing from a meeting and to see who is out on PTO at a given time. The update includes these changes to Zoom Meetings: 

  • Participant attendance status: If the host has the Google or Outlook calendar integration configured, Zoom will display a list of others invited to the meeting but not yet in attendance, enabling you to quickly see who hasn't joined yet.  
  • Security settings overview: The host and co-host can check the security features in effect for the meeting. This information is accessible through the in-meeting encryption shield, located in the top-left corner of the meeting.  
  • Aligned separate audio tracks for local recording: When recording separate audio tracks for a local recording during a meeting, the audio tracks will be aligned, so each track is in sync with each other and start at the same point. 

SEE: Zoom rolls out two product offerings geared at the hybrid workforce

The company announced these changes to the Chat function:

  • Rich text formatting: New rich text message capabilities include bold, italics, underline, strikethrough, highlight and text color, font size, bulleted and numbered lists, and hyperlinks.
  • Personal notes: A note indicating unavailability or upcoming PTO can be configured to display for a set period of time and to appear above the text input box when someone is composing a message to you. 
  • Quote messages: Users can quote specific messages sent in a channel, which helps avoid confusion and eliminates the need for others to scroll up to view the initial question or message. 

The company announced these changes as well as other news at Zoomtopia last week. The Poly Studio X70 is now shipping as a Zoom Rooms appliance. Also, Zoom Rooms now have full capabilities to start, set up and control breakout rooms. Users will be able to assign participants to rooms and edit breakout rooms directly from the controller. The company also announced that there are now 2 million paid Zoom phone seats in use.

Other features coming over the next month include a remote control feature available to multiple users during a meeting to replace the need for the "Next slide, please," cue. Also, Waiting Rooms will have two-way chat communication. 

The company is planning a whiteboard feature for later this year to allow asynchronous collaboration across a range of devices. Users will be able to use the whiteboard just as they would in an in-person office. The company is also working with Oculus from Facebook to add a Zoom whiteboard integration into Oculus Horizons Workrooms

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By Veronica Combs

Veronica Combs is a senior writer at TechRepublic. For more than 10 years, she has covered technology, healthcare, and business strategy. In addition to her writing and editing expertise, she has managed small and large teams at startups and establis...