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    Zoom.us -- An Amazing Cloud-based, Video-Conferencing...
    blog entry posted September 1, 2012 by Richard E Lillie, last edited September 2, 2012, tagged technology, technology tools 
    7958 Views, 3 Comments
    title:
    Zoom.us -- An Amazing Cloud-based, Video-Conferencing Service (It's free!)
    intro text:

    Recently, I read about Zoom.us a new free, cloud-based, video-conferencing service.  Yesterday, three of us used zoom.us to work on a research project.  We are located throughout the U.S.  We logged into the video conference call and worked for more than an hour.  The audio and video were crystal clear.  We shared desktops to work on documents together.  Wow!  The virtual work session was very productive and enjoyable.

    I use Skype to work with colleagues and to offer virtual office hours for my students.  Skype offers a free 1:1 video-conference call with desktop sharing.  To include more than two people in a Skype video call, you need to subscribe to Skype's premium service.  Skype's fee is very reasonable; however, it's difficult to beat "free."

    Both Zoom.us and Skype have features that meet specific needs.  Therefore, both services are valuable to the teaching-learning experience.  The quality of the zoom.us video-conference call was exceptional.  Zoom.us versus Skype is not an either/or situation.  Using one service or the other is a judgment call regarding features that best fit the need as hand.

    Getting started with zoom.us is quick and easy to do.  Their support page explanations are easy to follow.  The service works with Google and Facebook, iPad, iPhone, Windows and Mac.  When I set up zoom.us, I had to download a small file to my computer that includes the zoom.us interface.  The download was quick.  No problem.

    Below is a screenshot from the support page indicating key features of the zoom.us interface screen.  Individual members participating in a video call are shown at the top of the screen.  When a member speaks, the border of the member's screen turns "green."  The speaker's screen displays in the "big screen" section of the interface window.  This process works as the conversation switches among participants.  Wow!  This is amazing and allows each speaker to be the center of attention.

    Check out zoom.us.  I think you'll like this new video-conference service.

    Best wishes,

    Rick Lillie (CSU San Bernardino)

     * * * * * * * * * *

     

    Screenshot of zoom.us video conference call

     

    UPDATED INFORMATION:  DOWNLOADING ZOOM.US TO YOUR DESKTOP -- IMPORTANT

    I talked with the developers of zoom.us this afternoon.  They explained the simple way to download the small zoom.us file to your computer's desktop.
    
    See the picture below.
    
    • Log into http://zoom.us/
    • Click the "Start Video Meeting" button.
    • Follow-up screen should start the download process. (Allow this to happen.)
    • zoom.us file should download and the "z icon" should display on your desktop.
    Unless you change the "settings" in zoom.us, you will need to double-click on the zoom.us icon on your desktop to start the program.  Once the icon displays at the bottom of your monitor screen, click the icon to open the zoom.us screen.  Click the Start Video Meeting button.  When the screen displays, click the Invite option.  Enter the email addresses for participants you wish to invite into the video conference call.  Send the email message.  Stay logged into zoom.us.  Watch participants join the video conference call.
    I think you will be amazed by the clarity and crispness of the audio and video call.
    Enjoy!
    Rick Lillie (CSU San Bernardino)
    * * * * * * * * * *
    zoom.us home page


    Comment

     

    • Julie Smith David

      Thanks for letting us know about this, Rick... I tried to download and log in with my Google account, and it didn't seem to work (I think because of their enhanced security, if I were guessing.  Rather than take a lot of time to figure it out, I had to log in with Facebook... Do you (or anyone else) have concerns about Facebook being part of your professional connections?  I'm thinking I'd use Zoom.us for work, so I'm not sure I want to link that to my Facebook self... Thougths?

    • Richard E Lillie

      Hi Julie,

      I'm not a Facebook fan and don't use it.  There are a variety of ways to start and join a zoom.us video call.  Below are two links that may prove useful.

      Rick Lillie

      HELPFUL LINKS

      1. Knowledge base:  Helpful Q&A's
      2. Getting started with zoom.us
      Q&A with zoom.us Support

      • My Question:  

      Yesterday, I did a "test run" using zoom.us with a colleague. When I first learned about zoom.us, I guess I downloaded/installed zoom.us to my computer. I'm not sure why I did this, but it happened.

      When the zoom.us screen (No online buddies) displayed on my screen, I clicked the "Start Video Meeting" button. The main screen displayed. I clicked the "Invite" option. I clicked the "Send Email" option. An email screen opened in Outlook. I entered appropriate information and sent the email to the colleague.

      When the colleague clicked the link to the video meeting, it required my colleague to complete an information form and download/install zoom.us to her computer. It put an icon on her desktop.

      Why did zoom.us require the download/installation of the zoom.us software? From everything I've found on the zoom.us website, someone should be able to participate in a zoom.us video call without needing to download/install zoom.us software.

      Am I misunderstanding how all of this is supposed to work? Did I do something incorrectly?

      I would appreciate your help and guidance.

      • Support's Reply

      HI Rick, thank you for your feedback. Please see below.
      a. If you login with Google and see no buddy online - please see http://support.zoom.us/entries/21713728-why-is-my-buddy-list-empty-when-i-login-with-google

      b. If you are using Outlook, yes we launch it. We can also launch Gmail , please see http://support.zoom.us/entries/21788936-how-do-i-enable-gmail-to-launch-when-i-invite-by-send-email

      c. When your colleague is invited, he/she will receive a link such as zoom.us/j/11223333. When you click on that, it downloads a small (one time plugin similar to webex, gotomeeting, hangout), that is needed for video and audio communications. He/she does not need to login - they just have to put their "Your name" and join the meeting. When the meeting is over, the person can exit the application by clicking on the Leave or X and remove the icon on the taskbar.

      The plugin (small app) is one time.

    • Richard E Lillie

      Hi Julie,

      I talked with the developers of zoom.us Saturday afternoon.  See the "Updated Information" above.  Perform the four steps (see bullet points) to install zoom.us onto your desktop.  The paragraph explains how to start a zoom.us video conference call and invite participants into the call.  It's really easy to do.

      You can use Google+ and/or Facebook to populate the "Buddy List" in zoom.us.  This might make it quicker to invite people into a zoom.us video conference call.  However, you do not need to do this.

      I am not a Facebook fan and do not use it.  I asked the developers whether zoom.us might automatically share a video call with a participant's Facebook friends or fans.  They said no.

      A zoom.us call is "live" (synchronous).  The call is neither recorded nor archived in any way by zoom.us.  In an upcoming version, zoom.us will offer a "record the call feature."  The recording would be stored on a participant's hard drive or other storage tool (e.g., Box.com).  Also, an upcoming version will also allow the person starting the video conference call to password protect the call, in addition to included more elaborate security features to protect call content.

      You could use current screen capture software to record a zoom.us video conference call.  Use could use the same software to record a video conference call on Skype, Google+, or Facebook.  Protocol calls for all parties in a call (i.e., audio or video) to be notified "before" the recording process begins.

      I hope these comments answer your questions and concerns about using zoom.us.