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Zoom is adding email and calendar features to take on other workspace platforms

Zoom

As expected, Zoom is looking to take on the likes of Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace in more areas than group video calls and chats. At its Zoomtopia conference, the company announced a bunch of features that are coming to its platform, including two key ones for productivity: email and calendars. You can connect third-party email and calendar services to Zoom and access them through the desktop app. The company says that can help save you time instead of having to switch between apps and perhaps needing to hunt for the right tab in your browser.

Those on the Zoom One Pro or Zoom Standard Pro plans will be able to set up email accounts through the platform, and folks with certain plans have the option to use custom domains. You'll get up to 100GB of storage included. The key selling point is that messages sent directly between Zoom Mail Service users (i.e. those who use Zoom's email hosting services) will have end-to-end encryption. You'll also be able to send external emails that can expire and contain access-restricted links.

Zoom Calendar
Zoom Calendar

As for Zoom Calendar, there will be options to see which of your contacts has joined a meeting, and you can schedule Zoom voice and video calls in the app. Zoom's own calendar service will include the ability to book appointments.

On the way in 2023 is a feature called Zoom Spots. The company describes this as a virtual coworking space where colleagues can stay more connected during the workday via video-first conversations. While the company didn't reveal too much detail about Zoom Spots in its blog post, there may be a downside as the feature could enable bosses to keep a closer eye on what their employees are doing.

Zoom Spots
Zoom Spots

Businesses will soon be able to employ Zoom Virtual Agent, a conversational AI and chatbot designed to help customers resolve issues. That tool will be available in early 2023. Other things in the pipeline include a way for developers to make money from the Zoom Apps Marketplace and a virtual coach to help sellers perfect their pitches.

As for the core functions people know Zoom for, there's a feature on the way that connects team chats with in-meeting chats. You'll be able to carry the conversation from one to the other and back again to keep things flowing. The company is also looking to roll out translation options for team chats in 2023. In the near future, you'll be able to schedule a chat message to send at a later time.

Zoom Phone is coming to the web, which should be handy for many folks. A progressive web app will be available for ChromeOS too. Meanwhile, users will be able to use a one-click chat message as a response when they can't answer a call. As for Zoom Rooms, there will be a way for folks in one of those to join a Google Meet room and vice versa.

Last, but by no means least, Zoom revealed a string of updates for meetings. The Smart Recordings feature uses AI to generate summaries, next steps and chapters to make archived meetings more digestible and help you get to the part you're looking for. There will be meeting templates that can automatically configure the right settings and a way to record videos with narration and screensharing that you can send to colleagues. On top of that, you'll have more avatar options, including the ability to use a Meta avatar.

Smart Chapters on a Zoom video call recording
Smart Chapters on a Zoom video call recording