Zoom introduces beta features as platforms compete for business

Zoom is adding email and calendar tools as it competes with Slack and Microsoft Teams  (Nick Morrison on Unsplash)
Zoom is adding email and calendar tools as it competes with Slack and Microsoft Teams (Nick Morrison on Unsplash)

By now we’re all familiar with the “this meeting could have been an email” meme. It captures that collective groan people let out when they’re invited to an unnecessary video call or real-life office huddle that could have just been relayed over an email or direct message. Well, as it turns out Zoom may be aware of the feeling, too. The video conferencing app has just introduced two new beta features – email and calendar.

You’ll be able to use Zoom Mail to either link up your existing email account with the app on desktop for free, while paying customers can create a dedicated Zoom email that offers end-to-end encryption between Zoom Mail users. This option is limited to Zoom One Business members, with higher-tiered plans also given the option to create a custom domain. Users will get 15GB of email storage on Zoom Pro or Zoom United and 100GB on Zoom One Business or higher.

Similarly, Zoom Calendar lets you add your existing calendar to Zoom or use its proprietary calendar to schedule meetings, calls and view who has joined meetings from the calendar sidebar.

The features are aimed at placing Zoom at the center of the hybrid workplace as an all-in-one communications tool, instead of the video chat service it is commonly known as. Therefore, you’ll find Mail and Calendar alongside other tools like Team Chat (the company’s chat and collaboration service), Whiteboard, Phone, and Meetings as part of the Zoom One interface. Adding the updates could help boost productivity by cutting down on the time drain that comes with switching between apps for those individual tasks, Zoom’s Joseph Chong, head of product, solutions, and industry marketing, wrote in a blog post.

In that sense, Zoom’s evolution is likely aimed at helping it compete with Microsoft Teams and Slack. All three are continuously launching new tools as they jostle for dominance over the productivity software sector. Teams has announced everything from GIF sharing to adding hold music to phone calls to assigning chairs to attendants in virtual meetings.

Not to be left behind, Slack launched a tool dubbed Canvas in September that allowed users to store all manner of file types, from photos to PDFs to excel spreadsheets, in one easy-to-access location across collaborative projects.