Many of us have been on a lot of Zoom calls during the pandemic, but you might not know that Zoom also has its very own Slack- and Microsoft Teams-esque product called Zoom Chat. On Monday, Zoom announced a small change to the name of the product — it’s now called Zoom Team Chat — alongside a handful of other handy updates coming to the collaboration software.
Let’s start with the name change. Zoom is adding “Team” because customers were getting confused about the difference between the chat you can use in Zoom meetings with the separate communication suite. Renaming the product to Zoom Team Chat “helps make the distinction that it is a full collaborative hub product,” Sharvari Nerurkar, Zoom Team Chat’s head of product, said in an interview with The Verge.
The idea for Zoom Team Chat is that it can be a singular collaboration hub where you can work with colleagues in real time on calls or asynchronously over text chat. If you’re like me, you may already be doing this mix of video, voice, and text to talk with your co-workers but across different pieces of software. (Here at The Verge, we typically chat over Slack but do video calls over Zoom.)
If your workplace uses Zoom for video calls, you can theoretically do much of your workplace communication in one place with Zoom Team Chat without having to jump from app to app. “Our customers are telling us that [they] do not want the friction of jumping to multiple different products to collaborate with the same group of people,” Nerurkar said.
To improve the experience of actually using Zoom Team Chat, Zoom has a few new features that it’s aiming to release by the end of the month. One update is that you’ll be able to share in-meeting chat right into Zoom Team Chat, making it easier to see any important notes (or your witty commentary) after the meeting is over. You’ll also be able to schedule a Zoom meeting right from a Zoom Team Chat channel, which could be useful if you’re having a text conversation that might lend itself to a call.
That said, Zoom is facing fierce competition from the likes of Slack, Microsoft, and Google, all of which are rapidly building out their own workplace communication products to help organizations adapt to hybrid work environments. While the Zoom Team Chat updates on the way seem useful, the company may have an uphill battle to convince workplaces to switch to Zoom Team Chat from platforms they might already be familiar with.