Zoom vs. Microsoft Groups: The principle variations between the 2 video chat apps

Zoom vs. Microsoft Groups: The principle variations between the 2 video chat apps


Microsoft’s illustration for its Groups login web page.

Screenshot by Lynn La/CNET

Within the wake of coronavirus outbreak quarantines, lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders, use of video-chats apps and companies has surged. Many individuals at the moment are working from house, and in-person visits have gone digital. 

Whereas there are lots of choices accessible, whether or not you are in search of a approach to spend a digital blissful hour or host a brainstorming session with coworkers, two well-liked decisions are Zoom and Microsoft Groups. Here is how the 2 video-chat and conferencing apps examine — particularly in gentle of Zoom’s latest safety and privateness points


In case your office makes use of Workplace 365, you have already got entry to Microsoft Groups — a platform for chat, video conferencing and audio calls. The office communication hub integrates with Microsoft Phrase, Excel, PowerPoint and different Workplace apps for seamless presenting and file sharing. The app has an analogous really feel to Slack — you may discuss to staff members privately or in particular channels, and you may name consideration to the entire group or simply a person with the point out characteristic. 

You possibly can video chat with as much as 250 individuals without delay with Groups, or current stay to as much as 10,000 individuals. Share assembly agendas previous to a convention, invite exterior company to hitch a gathering, and entry previous assembly recordings and notes. Conferences could be scheduled within the Groups app or by Outlook.

Learn extra: The best way to get Microsoft Workplace 365 without cost

As extra individuals started to depend on video conferencing amid the pandemic, Microsoft posted a weblog about its safety practices, and the corporate recurrently posts in a Transparency Hub. Microsoft mentioned it does not use your Groups information to supply advertisements, it does not monitor participant consideration, and it deletes all of your information after your subscription ends — making a fairly clear effort to distinguish itself from Zoom and its many privateness and safety issues.

Groups is included together with your Workplace 365 subscription, however you can too obtain a free model. In March, Microsoft lifted limitations on the free model so companies and colleges can use it even with no conventional subscription. The corporate can also be providing a six-month free trial of Workplace 365 E1, Microsoft’s enterprise software program suite, for companies that are not already licensed for Groups. Workplace 365 enterprise plans that embody Groups begin at $5/consumer/month. 

Learn extra: Zoom, Skype, FaceTime: 11 ideas to your video chat apps

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The Zoom video convention app works for Android, iOS, PC and Mac. The app affords a fundamental free plan that hosts as much as 100 members. There are additionally choices for small and medium enterprise groups ($15-$20 a month per host) and enormous enterprises for $20 a month per host with a 50-host minimal. You possibly can modify assembly occasions, and choose a number of hosts. As much as 1,000 customers can take part in a single Zoom video name, and 49 movies can seem on the display without delay.

The app has HD video and audio capabilities, collaboration instruments like simultaneous screen-sharing and co-annotation, and the flexibility to file conferences and generate transcripts. Outlook, Gmail and iCal help scheduling and beginning conferences. In Gmail, for instance, simply click on the calendar icon, then click on the time of your assembly, then click on the hyperlink underneath Be part of Zoom Assembly. If the host scheduled it, there may also be call-in choices. 

Learn extra: 13 Zoom video chat ideas, methods and hidden options

In case your mic and digicam are off, Zoom has the choice to speak through chat (the interface seems to be a bit like Slack). This characteristic will also be useful if it is a huge all-hands assembly and the chance for questions is offered. 

It is free to enroll with Zoom — you may both manually create an account with an e-mail or check in with Google or Fb. 

If you happen to use Zoom, it is necessary to think about the safety points which have come to gentle since its speedy rise in recognition through the coronavirus pandemic. Privateness consultants have expressed issues over the video-conferencing software program’s privateness dangers and hacking vulnerabilities, in addition to zoombombing (the place uninvited attendees break into and disrupt conferences). The New York Metropolis Division of Schooling not too long ago instructed academics to cease utilizing Zoom in favor of Microsoft Groups whereas safety threats are addressed by the corporate

Nevertheless, in the event you’re nonetheless utilizing the platform, there are some steps you may take to guard your conferences, like utilizing a per-meeting ID and enabling the “Ready Room” characteristic so you may see who’s trying to hitch a gathering earlier than permitting entry.

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