Zoom from even more places
Zoom is expanding to a variety of new devices later this year, with the company announcing that the Amazon Echo Show, Facebook Portal, and Google Nest Hub Max will support the widely used videoconferencing app later this year.
It’s a big expansion for Zoom, which has recently started to branch out into its own licensed videoconferencing hardware. And smart displays — with their high-quality directional microphones and built-in touchscreens — are practically designed to be good videoconferencing devices.
The new Zoom integration is a big deal for Google, Amazon, and Facebook, too, given that all three of these companies have almost exclusively stuck to their own, in-house video chatting solutions (like Google Meet and Facebook Messenger) on their smart displays. The Portal will be the first to get Zoom, with a rollout planned for this September.
Each of the three solutions will implement Zoom a little differently. Facebook’s Portal devices will be adding a Zoom app (along with new apps for BlueJeans, GoToMeeting, and Webex, which were also announced today), and will rely on Facebook’s “smart camera” technology to automatically keep you in frame, just like it does for Facebook’s own Messenger and WhatsApp calls.
Additionally, Facebook is making the Portal less reliant on your personal Facebook accounts: instead of requiring a Facebook or WhatsApp account to log in to a Portal, the company is adding an option to use a work-focused Facebook Workplace account in “the coming weeks.”
Google, on the other hand, will be relying on the strength of its Calendar and Assistant services, which will be able to automatically pull in existing Zoom meetings directly from your calendar and allow users to start meetings with voice commands like “Hey Google, join my next meeting.” (Unfortunately, the fact that Google limits Nest Hubs to a single account means that it’ll be less useful for juggling work and personal Zoom meetings.)
Alexa customers will also get a similar experience. Echo Show devices that have been synced with your calendar will be able to automatically start meetings without requiring users to manually input a meeting ID or password, and it’ll support Alexa voice controls, too. Amazon’s rollout will start later this year, beginning with the Echo Show 8.