If you aren’t familiar with Zoom, I will go ahead an presume that you’ve been living in a cabin somewhere high in the mountains for the past nine months. I would also say to you, you’ve probably fared better than many have in 2020 and I wouldn’t blame you if you decided to return to that cabin. All jokes aside, the new work from home and remote learning movement that has resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic has catapulted Zoom’s video meeting software into the limelight. Granted, the company’s rise to fame didn’t come without its fair share of speed bumps. As I pointed out near the beginning of the pandemic-induced remote work movement, Zoom was rife with security issues and vulnerabilities that made it all but impossible to recommend. Things got so bad that many companies actually banned employees from using the video conferencing service for work-related use. Among those entities was Google.
Since that time, Zoom has gone on a tear to fix all of its issues and produce a well-rounded, user-friendly experience that has now been adopted by millions. I actually followed up my initial criticism of Zoom with a tip of my hat and some well-deserved applause at how well the company handled the “dumpster fire” they had created. Whatever steps the company has taken, it clearly was enough to impress some of the biggest tech entities in the country. In a relatively quiet announcement, Google has joined Facebook and Amazon in officially supporting Zoom video meetings on select smart displays. For Facebook Portal users, Zoom meetings will be available next month with support for Google’s Nest Hub Max and Amazon Echo Show arriving in late fall of 2020.
Zoom’s blog post specifically mentions the Nest Hub Max but Google’s Keyword does say Assistant-enabled smart displays. It’s unclear if all devices will have access out of the gate but presumably, it will arrive eventually. Zoom meetings that are on your calendar can be a accessed from your smart display and you can ask the Assistant join your next meeting. The feature will be available for free and paid Zoom customers. This move is a big deal for Zoom and I was honestly a bit surprised to see Google on the bandwagon given Zoom’s rocky start to 2020. However, I’m sure that Google can’t ignore the fact that many users joined up on Zoom and were well invested in the platform before Meet was more widely available to users. Zoom has grabbed a major portion of the market and will likely remain a big player in that space for the foreseeable future. Google giving them access to Assistant-enabled smart displays is a big win for Zoom and even more so for consumers. Good form.