Zoom adds more frills: Here’s what you need to know

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Zoom, the video-calling app that shot into fame during Covid-19 lockdowns mandating social distancing, now sees 300 million “meeting participants” every day across the globe. Just recently, the app has given itself a nice facelift, adding a clutch of features to make group calls more interesting.

Zoom says casual and fun elements were missing in the virtual office meeting culture and it wants to put an end to the practice and make official Zoom meet-ups more creative. Hence, it has come up with the new add-ons that include the Zoom filters, reactions, better lighting and noise suppression faculties.

Filter fun

Wouldn’t it be nice to sport, suddenly, a pair of horns on your head while talking to your colleagues about very mundane things? Try the new bunch of Zoom filters, which will help you wear unicorn horns, wear pirate-eye patches or aerospace goggles.

The backgrounds and filters are placed on the left panel of the chat window if you are using a Windows client and you can access them by selecting the video filter menu from the settings. But when we checked this out in India, the video filters were not working for us, but it seems the next update will take care of it.

Audio filters worked just fine with us. You can add any background to your Zoom meeting window. That said, not all participants can use these filters for now. Only the host is able to use it and we guess a new update will fix that for all the participants.

There are plain colour filters that will help you paint your video in myriad tints and shades. My favourite is the black-and-white mode, or dip your world in pink and let your unique personality fill every inch of the screen.

Touch up your video

Not everyone is confident about appearing online as they are for various reasons, from lack of proper lighting to bandwidth blues. Now, Zoom gives you better controls over your video by allowing you to do touch-ups and lighting adjustment with it.

This means you will be seen clearly irrespective of the ambient light. You can change the brightness level of your panel and can fix the level of skin smoothing to tweak the video frame to your tastes.

Reactions, reactions!

Now Zoom users can show their responses to other participants’ comments by sending a sticker or emoji to the chat window. If you don’t want to make a noise and, still, want to make your reactions known to the audience, this is a cool option.

Noise suppression

If you are on the work-from-home mode and have to deal with a lot of intruding noise while Zooming, this is a handy tool for you. Now you can use Zoom’s enhanced background noise suppression faculty to cut out unwanted background noise such as barking dogs or a whirring fan or noise of children playing in the background.

You may also play soft background music as well, which helps if you are a yoga instructor or a tutor or someone who gives instructive classes.

And more..

Another interesting new addition is the ability to add a little extra when you share your PowerPoint or Keynote presentations as a virtual background. You can let your video overlay on the slides — like weathercasters do.

Zoom will let you move your video to any part of the screen and resize so you can make sure that you’ve seen and heard without disruptions.

Zoom has also added a clutch of chat enhancements as well. These include a pop-up that lets you know who’s waiting to join the meeting even when your window is minimised or when you’re sharing a screen.

During a chat, you can now share images and files from Microsoft SharePoint. You can now sync your Zoom presence to Microsoft Outlook and let your friends or colleagues know when you’re online for the meeting.

On your phone, now you can transfer a Zoom phone call to any Zoom meeting on other platforms. This can be done even when you’re not the host. All you have to do is to just enter the meeting URL, personal meeting ID, or share a calendar event. This means now you can begin a Zoom call on your phone and end it on your desktop. Isn’t that cool?

You also check the quality of your Zoom phone call and figure out your connection is good or bad and change your chat accordingly. Zoom now allows you to use keyboard shortcuts to take, reject Zoom calls on the phone.

You need Zoom 5.2 to access most of these features, so just go upgrade your Zoom client before the next meeting begins!

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