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Zoom finally catches up with Microsoft Teams with new native app integrations

Zoom apps
(Image credit: Zoom)

Zoom has unveiled a series of key upgrades to its video conferencing platform, including native app integrations that will expand the functionality of its client.

At its annual Zoomtopia conference, the company revealed it would bring both first and third-party apps (called Zapps) onto its platform and arm developers with the tools to build services that enhance the experience before, during and after Zoom calls.

The first set of Zapps (numbering circa 25) will arrive on the platform by the end of the year and will include popular services such as Slack, Coursera, Dropbox, ServiceNow, Asana, and Box.

Zoom apps

By bringing native apps to the Zoom platform, the company hopes to address challenges brought about by the high volume of collaboration and productivity services deployed by businesses today.

Instead of minimizing a Zoom call to add to a to-do list in Asana or access a file stored in DropBox, users can execute all of these tasks from within the client itself.

“Zapps give access to best-of-breed applications throughout your Zoom meeting workflow, to be more efficient and effective before, during and after your virtual meetings, helping to operationalize your best-of-breed strategy and enhance productivity,” wrote Ross Mayfield, Integrations Lead at Zoom.

“Now you can quickly navigate to apps within the Zoom interface to streamline permissions, grant document accessibility and collaborate on screen.”

Until now, Zoom has predominantly been seen as a dedicated video conferencing service, but the introduction of Zapps could be the start of a shift that sees Zoom transform into a more rounded collaboration solution, à la Slack or Microsoft Teams.

Zoom end-to-end encryption

On top of Zapps, Zoom also announced it will make full end-to-end encryption (E2EE) available to all users imminently, delivering on a promise to bolster security made at the start of the pandemic.

The company originally stated that end-to-end encryption would be reserved for paying customers only, but executed a swift U-turn after facing a backlash from users.

End-to-end encryption will be rolled out in technical preview next week and can be activated via account settings and toggled on or off on a per-meeting basis.

“Zoom’s E2EE ensures that communication between meeting participants using Zoom applications is encrypted using cryptographic keys known only to the devices of those participants,” explained the firm.

“With E2EE, no third party - including Zoom - is provided with access to the meeting’s private keys.”