Zoom: What’s with the sudden popularity?

Poushi Razzaque and Maksudur Rahman

As the corona pandemic continues to spread across the world, people are carrying out their work, classes, and non-essential work from home. Social isolation measures across the world have restricted travel and the closure of businesses and other forms of activities has substantially sparked working from home. Almost half of the world’s population is in some form of lockdown. People are now looking for alternative measures to work from home and stay connected to their workplace. The pandemic has forced people to stay indoors and continue to work and study from home during the lockdown and videoconferencing has become the new norm. With millions of people using video conferencing service Zoom for online classes, meetings and what not the videoconferencing software company has seen immense profitable growth.

A few months ago ZOOM was not a prominent virtual meeting solution. There are a number of other choices out there like Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangout, and GoToMeeting. On the contrary, however, it seems everyone has accepted ZOOM as the go-to option to hold business meetings, classes and other forms of virtual conferences. Over 2020 the company is getting up to 2.2 million new monthly users whereas it only got 1,19 million new users in 2019. Ostensibly Zoom became the coronavirus lockdown’s work-from-home video line app of alternative beating Microsoft’s Skype and Google Hangouts as it is the second most-downloaded app within the world right now. Almost overnight everyone had adopted the platform as the go-to option to hold lessons, business meetings, and sensitive discussions.  But why is everyone choosing Zoom over Skype and Hangouts?

Zoom’s mission to make video communications simple and frictionless is a key factor here as users today prefer technologies that offer simple hassle-free experiences. To answer what made Zoom dominant in the market- better call quality, the ability to record meetings and features like sharing screens play a big part to set Zoom apart from the competition. The app’s explosive surge in popularity to the broader sense of consumer world is that its super easy to use and it also offers a free 40-minute conference with up to 100 participants. Zoom’s interface is easy to use and you don’t need to login to access to meetings. But as a consumer-business platform, the company has focused much less on privacy and security and those same features put people at risk. 

With Zoom’s booming business during the COVID-19 outbreak, the lightning growth exposed a range of security and privacy issues as the company is now facing a huge backlash for being responsible for users’ privacy leaks. In recent weeks, as the users of Zoom is rapidly increasing, reports of “Zoombombing” or “Zoom raiding” by uninvited participants have become frequent. It has been revealed that the service actually does not support end-to-end encryption for video and audio content like the company claims and Zoom’s security has left a lot of holes open. Zoom’s security practices are drawing additional attention together with at least three lawsuits against the company. Allegedly 500,000 Zoom accounts sold on hacker forums. Several companies and giants like Google, SpaceX, the New York City Department of Education, the Taiwanese, Australian, and German governments have already banned employees from using the software until Zoom’s security posture improves.

In the wake of criticism for falling short on security issues, Zoom pledges to fix flaws and the company promises to concentrate on safety and privacy issues. Zoom has surged into success and popularity during the world pandemic but in order to keep the momentum going Zoom must prioritize user privacy and security over ease of use.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *