Video conferencing provider Zoom said on Thursday it had mistakenly published a blog last week that put its daily users at 300 million people when the figure instead referred to the number of meeting participants.
The Zoom blogfrom 22 April has now been edited to say that the company had surpassed “300 million daily Zoom meeting participants” instead of “more than 300 million daily users”.
Shares of the video conferencing app fell nearly 7 percent to $136.86 in afternoon trade following an initial report by The Verge, which spotted the change in the blog post to meeting participants.
Zoom video conferencing app.
Reuters and other media outlets have been reporting Zoom’s meeting participants figure as daily active users. The company had not issued any clarification on how it was calculating its daily active users before the Verge report.
A daily active user is defined as using the video conferencing service at least once a day and a meeting participant is counted as the member of a meeting. Thus a single daily active user could be counted multiple times as a meeting participant in a single day.
Shares of Zoom rose 12 percent to a record high of $168.24 in April when it first reported that its daily active users had topped 300 million.
Microsoft said on Wednesday that its Teams had 75 million daily active users and had at least one day in April when there were 200 million meeting participants. Cisco Systems Inc’s video-conferencing app Webex also said it registered a record 324 million attendees in March.
As corporations and schools shift to remote work and billions of people subject to stay-at-home orders seek ways to remain connected, Zoom has seen a surge in demand for its services. But it has also experienced a backlash as the increased use exposed privacy and security flaws.
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Video conferencing tools have been in demand ever since millions of people around the globe have been working from home due to the coronavirus lockdown. One particular platform that became immensely popular is Zoom. The US-based cloud-based peer-to-peer software platform even topped the list of most-downloaded apps in India among Android users last month and riding on this success wave, Zoom claimed that its user base had grown to over 300 million daily users in the last three weeks.
The company now, however, has admitted that it does not have more than 300 million daily users, but rather has 300 million daily Zoom meeting participants, claims a report by The Verge. The report points out that Zoom has now edited its original blog post from last week that mentioned that “more than 300 million people around the world are using Zoom during this challenging time.”
As per the report, Zoom has now made the change on the blog post and even added a note admitting the error. “This blog originally referred to meeting participants as “users” and “people.” This was an oversight on our part,” reads the note.
In a statement to The Verge, Zoom said, “We are humbled and proud to help over 300 million daily meeting participants stay connected during this pandemic. In a blog post on April 22, we unintentionally referred to these participants as “users” and “people.” When we realized this error, we adjusted the wording to “participants.” This was a genuine oversight on our part.”
After this correction, the company has not revealed its daily active user base.
Some of the biggest tech giants — Google, Microsoft, Facebook — have been actively making announcements about their video conferencing tools. Microsoft Team is said to have reached a record 75 million daily active users, with a jump of 70%. Google Meet is also adding about 3 million new users everyday, the company has revealed. Facebook on its part has announced a new tool — Messenger Rooms — to allow up to 50 participants to engage in a video call.
Video conferencing app Zoom’s 5.0 update has been rolled out. This update brings one of Zoom’s most advanced security enhancements to date with support for AES 256-bit GCM encryption, which provides added protection for meeting data and greater resistance to tampering, claims the company.
Zoom end users can upgrade to Zoom 5.0 by visiting the Zoom download page. Zoom administrators can receive detailed information on how to manage this update for various endpoints in their environment on the Zoom 5.0 IT administrators page.
Here are the features the new security update has added to Zoom:
1. AES 256-bit GCM encryption
Zoom 5.0 supports the current encryption and GCM encryption. A system-wide account enablement to GCM encryption will occur on May 30, 2020, and only Zoom clients on version 5.0 or later, including Zoom Rooms, will be able to join Zoom Meetings starting May 30.
2. Report a User feature
Now, meeting hosts and co-hosts can report a user in their meeting who is misusing the Zoom platform. Found in the Security icon, the option sends a report to Zoom’s Trust & Safety team for review. The report can include a specific offense, description and optional screenshot. The Report a User function is on by default but can be turned off at the account, group, and user level in the Zoom web portal.
3. New encryption shield icon
A new encryption shield appears in the upper left of the user’s Zoom Meeting window and indicates a secure, encrypted meeting. After May 30, the shield will be green for all users, denoting enhanced GCM encryption. Clicking the icon also takes the user to the Statistics page for additional encryption details.
4. Enhanced data center information
Meeting hosts can now select data center regions at the scheduling level for meetings and webinars. The Zoom client also shows which data center the user is connected to in the Info icon in the upper left of your Zoom window. The user can get additional details in-meeting by selecting Video Settings – Statistics in the meeting controls.
Additionally, if organizations outside of China did not opt in to the China data center before the April 25 deadline, those accounts will not be able to connect to mainland China for data transit.
5. Enhancements to ending/leaving meetings
Zoom claims that it has refined the action of ending or leaving a Zoom Meeting. With a new UI update, hosts can clearly decide between ending or leaving a meeting. If the host leaves, they can now easily select a new host and have the confidence that the right person is left with host privileges.
Google Meet, Google’s newest video chat service, will soon be free for everyone. The service, which was previously locked behind G Suite, is opening up to anyone with a Google account.
Users will be able to access the service at meet.google.com or through the iOS and Android apps. While the service is free now, it won’t be free forever. Google says that, after September 30, meetings will be limited to 60 minutes.
If you’ve never heard of “Google Meet” before, don’t feel bad. The branding only popped up earlier this month, when Google quietly renamed “Google Hangouts Meet” to “Google Meet.” Hangouts Meet is something we’ve written about before, and it launched in 2017 as a reboot to Google’s enterprise messaging suite, which consisted of Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat. Both of these 2017 enterprise “Hangouts” products have no relation to the widely used, consumer-focused “Google Hangouts” chat app from 2013, which is still part of Gmail and was a default Android app for a long time. Google claims it wants to merge all the “Hangouts” products together, but you can never be sure what the future of Google’s disorganized messaging strategy will hold.
Just like with its instant messaging strategy over the years, Google has really dropped the ball when it comes to video conferencing apps. Google’s first efforts in video chat started with a Gmail video chat in 2008 and peaked with Google Hangouts video chat in 2013. Google has been in video chat for longer than most of its contemporary competition (other than Skype), but a lack of focus and a continual need to shut down one product and then launch a similar product under a different name left the company spinning its wheels for years. If Google could focus and put the company’s massive resources behind a single communication suite that is continually updated and maintained, it could have been an industry leader by now. Instead, Google Meet will be Google’s third video chat service in the market, after Google Hangouts and Google Duo.
Employees inside the company are apparently frustrated with Google’s market position, too. A recent article from The New York Times details how tech giants like Google and Facebook are chasing Zoom, and it ends with a great anecdote:
Late last month, Philipp Schindler, Google’s chief business officer, held a videoconference with thousands of the search giant’s employees using Google Meet, three people who attended the call said. During the session, one employee asked why Zoom was reaping the biggest benefits even though Google had long offered Meet.
Mr. Schindler tried placating the engineer’s concerns, the people said. Then his young son stumbled into view of the camera and asked if his father was talking to his co-workers on Zoom. Mr. Schindler tried correcting him, but the boy went on to say how much he and his friends loved using Zoom.
COVID-19’s shelter-in-place requirements made millions of people turn to working from home. That led to a huge spike in video chat users, but this general availability of Google Meet already seems like it was too late to ride this wave of users. The work-from-home trend started two months ago when Google Meet was still locked behind the GSuite paywall. Zoom was ready and burst into the public consciousness as a result. By now, it seems like most of the people who were going to transition to a video chat app have already done so, and they picked Zoom.
Google doesn’t have a strong argument for why someone would switch from Zoom, either. Google alludes to better security in its blog post, but neither Zoom nor Google Meet is end-to-end encrypted. Both are only “encrypted in transit,” which anyone who uses an HTTPS connection can claim. Your conversation might be private from the wider Internet, but it’s possible that the service provider can view your meeting data. Participating in a meeting also requires a Google account, while Zoom makes it possible to join a meeting without any account at all. Zoom can secure a meeting with only a password, giving it a much lower barrier to entry.
Like most Google launches, not everyone will get access to Google Meet immediately. Google says that availability for Google Meet will slowly roll out to users “over the following weeks.”
Zoom Video Communications Inc said on Tuesday it has started using Oracle Corp’s cloud computing service to help handle the surge in online video call volumes brought on by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
As corporations and schools shift to remote work and billions of people subject to stay-at-home orders seek ways to remain connected, Zoom has seen daily meeting participants rocket from 10 million in December to 300 million. But it has also experienced a backlash as the increased use exposed privacy and security flaws.
Zoom set out a 90-day plan to fix the security issues, but in the meantime, the thirty-fold jump in traffic has required more computing power.
The deal is a big win for Oracle, which wants to catch up with rivals such as Amazon.com and Microsoft that have greater market share, and is selling a new generation of cloud technology after its first generation efforts failed to gain traction.
Zoom and Oracle did not disclose the size of the deal, but said traffic for “millions” of meeting participants is being handled by Oracle’s cloud service and about 7 million gigabytes of Zoom data per day is flowing through Oracle servers.
“It’s exciting to be able to come on to a platform and scale very rapidly,” Zoom’s Chief Technology Officer Brendan Ittelson told Reuters in an interview.
Zoom’s service ran on a mixture of its own data center gear and cloud computing services from Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure, but it began working with Oracle about six weeks ago.
Zoom and Oracle executives said their engineering teams worked together on a daily basis to get up and running systems that now handle a significant portion of Zoom’s traffic.
Jean Atelsek, an analyst with 451 Research, said if Zoom’s use of Oracle proves successful, it could give Oracle a high-profile customer to show that its new technology is competitive with larger rivals.
“What’s remarkable about this deal is just the velocity with which it happened,” Atelesk said.