All the Things You Need to Know About the Zoom App

  • What Is Zoom?
  • Is Zoom Free?
  • Do I Need A Fast Internet Connetion To Use Zoom?

At a time when remote work and distance learning are most ideal, there has been a sudden surge in the popularity of video conferencing software. There is one in particular that appears to be the talk of the town overnight — Zoom.

Granted, Zoom has always been there as a staple program for company meetings and teleconferencing. But this year, the program benefited from the number of people who were forced to stay at home amid a global health crisis. In March alone, Zoom’s daily users skyrocketed to 200 million from a daily average of 10 million.

But for those who are not familiar with the program, you might be wondering: What exactly is this Zoom software that everyone is talking about? And how can I get on the platform?

What is Zoom?

The concept behind the Zoom software is not entirely new in the world of the internet and technology. There have been countless applications and programs before that offer the same features — a messaging platform and teleconferencing software either through audio calls and video calls.

But it appears that the program also has a couple of advantages over other platforms that were launched earlier such as Skype, which has been around since 2003, and FaceTime, which was released in 2010, a year earlier than Zoom.

When using Zoom, users who are not hosting meetings or calls do not need an account to have access to the online conference. You just have to click on the link sent by your colleagues, friends, or relatives and you will be able to join them in a call.

Where can I download the Zoom program?

The Zoom software is available for all PC, Maz, iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. If you are accessing a link to a Zoom call through a desktop computer or laptop, there’s an accompanying prompt that you can click if you want to install the software. The software takes up about 10MB of space.

If you thought about installing the program on a whim, you can find a direct download link for Zoom on Google. What you have to do is click on the Download button located just under the Zoom Client for Meetings section.

If you are accessing the program through your iOs or Android device, there is an app that you can download on the iOs App Store or Google Play. Like any other apps or software, you will need an internet connection to access the download link.

How do I host or join a Zoom meeting?

Another positive review of users about Zoom is the app’s user-friendliness even for those who are accessing the platform for the first time.

If you need to host a Zoom call with your colleagues, family, or friends, the first thing you need to do is create an account on the platform. You will need to provide a name and email address to create the account and begin a conference.

Once the account has been set up, you just have to click New Meeting and invite people to join you through the Invite button.

As previously mentioned, joining a Zoom meeting does not require you to create an account on the platform. You just have to click on the link sent by your host and click Join Meeting. In some instances, you will be asked to provide a meeting ID or password, which should be shared by your host.

How can I set a custom background for my Zoom meetings?

Zoom is not only for hosting or joining audio and video calls. The developer behind the program has launched a number of features that users can play with while on the platform. Arguably the most popular among these is the custom background.

It allows you to cover what’s behind you when you’re on a call, which is ideal for those who are taking work calls from home.

What you need to do, if you’re using Zoom on a desktop PC or laptop and already in the middle of a call, is to:

  • Find the ^ button beside Stop Video
  • Click “Choose Virtual Background
  • Pick one for a list of all available options or click the + button to add your own

If you’re not yet in a call, you have to:

  • Click the Cog icon on the top right-hand corner of the app
  • Select Virtual Background
  • Pick one from the list of options or press the + button to add your own

If you are using the app through your smartphone or tablet and you’re already in a call:

  • Tap your screen and select More
  • Click Virtual Background
  • Click on the + button to open your camera roll
  • Select the image you want to use and click Done
  • Click Close

Does Zoom consume a lot of data?

On average, a 1:1 call on Zoom consumes 540MB of data per hour, while a group call takes up to 810MB with the same duration. If you are hosting or joining calls through your mobile device, an hour of 1:1 calls consumers up to 800MB.

Keep in mind, though, that your data usage may also be affected by the strength of your connection, so these figures are not definite.

How fast should my internet be to support a Zoom call?

Fortunately, it doesn’t take the fastest internet connection to launch Zoom on your desktop, laptop, or mobile device. The program only requires between 0.6Mbps and 3Mbps for a video call. This means that even the most basic broadband plans can with 12Mbps of speed can support the software.

What are the best alternatives to Zoom?

Before there was Zoom, there were a ton of other programs that allowed people to conduct remote video conferencing from the comforts of their own home, car, or a satellite office.

Skype

Skype comes to mind first for being the most popular and widely used platform all over the world.  It was developed by Microsoft and was primarily used as a messaging platform. Recently, Skype launched a “meet now” function that allows people to create a conference call for free without setting up an account.

FaceTime

FaceTime is a popular option for those who are loyal to iOs devices. It’s an exclusive platform for Apple users, meaning those with Android devices can’t participate in a FaceTime video call.

Facebook Messenger

Facebook is also one of the most widely used because anyone who has a Facebook account automatically has a Facebook Messenger profile. Each call can accommodate up to 50 people but you are only able to see a maximum of six. If you go beyond six persons, you are only able to see whoever is talking.

WhatsApp

Similar to Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp can be used to host a call between a group of people. However, each group video call can only accommodate a maximum of four persons.

Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is the “youngest” among other programs on this list, having been launched only in 2013. It works like Skype but you will need a Gmail account to participate.

The new normal has indeed paved the way for a major surge in usage of different video conferencing and other platforms we use for communicating and keeping ourselves connected amidst all that's happening.