ReviewGeek: Google Debuts Google Meet, Not to Be Confused With Google Meet

ReviewGeek: Google Debuts Google Meet, Not to Be Confused With Google Meet. “Starting today, Google is combining its Meet and Duo apps into a single app for voice and video calls. The search giant confirmed the change in June, adding the best of Google Meet’s features into Google Duo, and is now changing the name to Google Meet. Are you still with me? It’s confusing, I know. Google Meet already exists as a Zoom competitor for businesses. Still, between now and September, users will start to notice the Google Duo app change into Google Meet with a new name and logo.”

WIRED: The Future of Slack Looks a Lot Like Zoom

WIRED: The Future of Slack Looks a Lot Like Zoom. “Last June, the popular workplace chat app Slack introduced Huddles, an audio-only feature designed to replicate the real-life thing. It was an immediate hang space, launched easily from within a Slack channel or a direct message. And it has been, according to Slack, a hit.”

Harvard Business School: All Those Zoom Meetings May Boost Connection and Curb Loneliness

Harvard Business School: All Those Zoom Meetings May Boost Connection and Curb Loneliness. “Americans are lonelier than ever—a problem the COVID-19 pandemic may have exacerbated. Could interactions on platforms like Zoom and Twitch come close to replicating the real-life contact people crave? New research suggests that’s more likely to happen if the virtual experiences truly engage people on screen.”

Make Tech Easier: 8 Zoom Alternatives to Make a Free Conference Call

Make Tech Easier: 8 Zoom Alternatives to Make a Free Conference Call. “Zoom works great for conference calls, but you’re limited to 100 people and just 40 minutes in the free version. This isn’t always ideal, especially for longer meetings. Luckily, there are a variety of Zoom alternatives that don’t have as many restrictions in their free versions. Plus, some don’t even require people calling in to have an account.”

TechCrunch: Google Duo and Meet will soon become one

TechCrunch: Google Duo and Meet will soon become one. “Google Duo, the company’s video chat service for consumers, will soon merge with Google Meet, the company’s video chat service for business users. The Duo app will soon get all of Meet’s features, including scheduled calls, and then, once the transition is complete, change its name to Google Meet. At that point, the current Meet app will simply launch the new Duo/Meet app. It’s a bit complicated, but to be fair, moving millions of users to the new platform was always going to be a heavy lift.”

University of Wisconsin-Madison: You’re muted — or are you? Videoconferencing apps may listen even when mic is off

University of Wisconsin-Madison: You’re muted — or are you? Videoconferencing apps may listen even when mic is off. “Kassem Fawaz’s brother was on a videoconference with the microphone muted when he noticed that the microphone light was still on — indicating, inexplicably, that his microphone was being accessed. Alarmed, he asked Fawaz, an expert in online privacy and an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, to look into the issue.”

The Verge: The best free apps for video calling

The Verge: The best free apps for video calling. “Remember last summer, when things were starting to open up and Omicron was just a Greek letter you found in crossword puzzles? Yeah, me too. But now, many of us are still relying on video calls to keep in touch with work colleagues, family, and friends. And for most of us — especially those who are facing financial difficulties — free is best. Zoom continues to top the list of videoconferencing apps, but there are a bunch of applications out there that will allow you to meet others online for free.”

CNN: Zoom Santas are back and eager as ever

CNN: Zoom Santas are back and eager as ever. “Santa Bombing piggybacks on the runaway success of virtual Santa visits last year. Like the explosion in popularity for curbside dining options and Zoom itself, the sudden rise of Zoom Santas met a pandemic need. It offered families a safer alternative to the annual tradition of visiting Santa Claus at a mall amid a surge in Covid cases, and offered actors a chance to still earn a paycheck for Santa work over the holidays — in some cases far more money than with IRL Santa work.”

Route Fifty: Got Zoom Fatigue? Out-of-Sync Brainwaves Could Be A Reason Videoconferencing Is Such a Drag

Route Fifty: Got Zoom Fatigue? Out-of-Sync Brainwaves Could Be A Reason Videoconferencing Is Such a Drag. “Our experiments demonstrated that the natural rhythm of turn transitions between speakers is disrupted by Zoom. This disruption is consistent with what would happen if the neural ensemble that researchers believe normally synchronizes with speech fell out of sync due to electronic transmission delays.”

PsyPost: Having your camera on during virtual meetings promotes “Zoom fatigue” — especially among women and newer employees

PsyPost: Having your camera on during virtual meetings promotes “Zoom fatigue” — especially among women and newer employees. “Experimental findings published in the Journal of Applied Psychology revealed that employees who had their cameras on during virtual meetings experienced greater fatigue and, in turn, reduced performance during meetings. This was especially true for women and newer employees, suggesting that a heightened need for self-presentation may be the cause of this fatigue.”

9to5 Google: Google Meet adds new ‘immersive backgrounds’ that mimic a real-life cafe or condo

9to5 Google: Google Meet adds new ‘immersive backgrounds’ that mimic a real-life cafe or condo. “One way of making the endless torrent of personal and work video calls more palatable is by setting unique backgrounds. Google Meet on the web is introducing new ‘immersive backgrounds’ that attempt to give your surroundings some life.” Looks like this is restricted to Workplace customers at the moment.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign: Nahrstedt to Shake Off Zoom-Fatigue With an Augmented-Reality System for Virtual Meetings

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign: Nahrstedt to Shake Off Zoom-Fatigue With an Augmented-Reality System for Virtual Meetings. “The COVID-19 pandemic has forced hundreds of millions of people to interact with each other over online videoconferencing systems instead of meeting face-to-face—and no one would deny that tools like Zoom have made the pandemic far easier to cope with. However, such services provide only an unnatural-seeming meeting environment that emphasizes participants’ isolation and potentially leaves them feeling marginalized, unseen, uncomfortable, and less able to focus, resulting in less productive conversations. Now, under a new grant from the National Science Foundation, Illinois CS professor and Coordinated Science Laboratory director Klara Nahrstedt will lead a timely effort to create a next-generation, mixed-reality, immersive meeting environment that offers attendees a vivid experience that better simulates the feeling of in-person conversations.”

Android Police: Skype hopes its latest overhaul is enough to win you back

Android Police: Skype hopes its latest overhaul is enough to win you back. “Unsurprisingly, Microsoft has spent the last year and a half focused on making Teams as great as it can be. It’s not the only messaging tool the company owns, of course. Skype might not be what you turn to in the age of Meet, Duo, and — yes — FaceTime, but it’s still a massively popular tool for communicating with your friends and loved ones online. Microsoft is working hard to modernize the once-dominant video chat app, starting with an all-new redesign in its latest update.”

BBC: New Zealand council’s Zoom talks go viral as pretend meeting

BBC: New Zealand council’s Zoom talks go viral as pretend meeting . “A New Zealand council’s Zoom meeting has been viewed more than 290,000 times on YouTube as people use it to pretend to take part and avoid being disturbed. The meeting of the Waipa District Council’s finance and corporate committee was recorded during a Covid-19 lockdown period in April last year. Since then, users have been playing it at home and at their workplaces to create the impression they are busy.”