We're about a third of the way through Zoom's 90-day feature freeze, implemented to enhance the security and privacy of the service. The 5.0 update released at the end of April took some major strides in that regard, but the service still have a ways to go to clear up every concern.
Zoom announced today that a May 9 update will enable a number of features to help free account users combat "Zoombombing" and, even more surprising given the aforementioned feature freeze, the service is adding a new transcription tool, according to TechRadar.
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Zoom May 9 Security Update
Let's tackle the security feature update first, as the offensive and troubling drop-ins to Zoom calls, called "Zoombombing," have been one of the more attention-grabbing problems for the video chat service of late. They've especially caused problems with so many schools turning to it as the best video conferencing app solution for teachers to keep in contact with students.
What Zoom is implementing on May 9 is simply defaulting free or basic accounts to security features that were previously available. The primary example is requiring passwords for all meetings, but it is also instituting waiting rooms and host-only screen sharing as the default as well. As "Zoombombing" appears to be mostly people simply taking advantage of the relatively predictable room codes, these steps should largely eliminate it.
So what's the explanation for the new feature during the supposed feature freeze? This is actually an integration with an existing service called Otter.ai, which allows users to transcribe meetings in real-time.
So in order to make use of the functionality in Zoom, you will need both a subscription to Zoom Pro or higher as well as a subscription to Otter for Teams.
In your Zoom meeting, you will now see an "Otter.ai Live Transcript" button in your chat window. Clicking it will take you over to a Live Video Meeting Notes page on the Otter.ai website where you can view, highlight, comment and add photos to the live meeting transcription, which can be shared with others.
This should be a compelling addition for business users and, along with the added security functionality added last month, promises of more updates should staunch some of the losses to competitors, like Microsoft Teams.