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.”

CNET: Brave browser adds private videoconferencing with $7 premium option

CNET: Brave browser adds private videoconferencing with $7 premium option. “Expanding its paid services push, browser maker Brave on Wednesday launched a videoconferencing service called Brave Talk designed to protect privacy better than existing options like Zoom. It’s free, though a premium option costing $7 per month adds features like recording video and supporting groups of three or more.”

NewsWise: Cameras, not meetings, cause Zoom fatigue

NewsWise: Cameras, not meetings, cause Zoom fatigue. “In the post-pandemic world, a few things have become ubiquitous: masks, hand sanitizer and Zoom fatigue, or the feeling of being worn out after a long day of virtual meetings. But new research from a team led by University of Georgia psychologist Kristen Shockley suggests that it’s not the meetings causing the fatigue—it’s the camera.”

CNET: Zoom is adding live translation services, more hybrid work features

CNET: Zoom is adding live translation services, more hybrid work features. “Upgrades include live, multilanguage transcription and translation for Zoom calls. The platform will use machine learning and natural language processing to first transcribe the spoken language, and then each participant will be able to translate it to their own language, Zoom executives said during a press call. A beta will be available this month, and the feature should be generally available by the end of the year. The list of languages is not yet final, there will be 30 transcription and 12 translation options by the end of 2022, they added.”

TechCrunch: As the delta variant surges, a nonprofit app lets hospital patients call home for free on any device

TechCrunch: As the delta variant surges, a nonprofit app lets hospital patients call home for free on any device. “A hospital can request a TeleHome login (provided again, for free). Once it’s installed using that one-time login, patients can use a hospital’s device to send a link via text to another person. Clicking that link will take participants to a Zoom-call like format in an internet browser — regardless of whether they have an iPhone, Android, computer or any other type of device.”

CNET: FaceTime gets an upgrade in iOS 15. Here are 6 new features you can try with friends

CNET: FaceTime gets an upgrade in iOS 15. Here are 6 new features you can try with friends. “With these key updates to FaceTime, it seems Apple doesn’t want Zoom to take all the success. Some of the features do indeed go some way to make FaceTime more like Zoom, while other features — like SharePlay — are all new and could offer great new ways of virtually hanging out with friends.”

Ars Technica: Google Meet puts the clamps on free users, imposes 1-hour meeting limit

Ars Technica: Google Meet puts the clamps on free users, imposes 1-hour meeting limit. “Google Meet was rushed out the door to meet the video-conferencing needs of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the service’s launch presented a deal for free users: a video call limit of 24 hours for group calls. Today, 9to5Google confirmed that Google’s pandemic promotion is over, and Google Meet now limits free users to 1-hour group video calls.”

Mashable: You can now be a cat in Google Meet calls

Mashable: You can now be a cat in Google Meet calls . “Google has integrated a bunch of new filters and masks into Meet, making it a bit more like Google Duo (which Meet is replacing anyways) and very much like the Snap Camera app on Zoom. These include new, animated backgrounds such as an undersea environment with bubbles and jellyfish swimming around (additions to the three launched in April), as well as changing your head into the head of a cat, elephant, dinosaur, and more.”

CNET: FaceTime is getting a bunch of upgrades, and I can’t wait to try them with my friends

CNET: FaceTime is getting a bunch of upgrades, and I can’t wait to try them with my friends. “Not wanting Zoom to take all the success, Apple announced some key updates to FaceTime during its WWDC event. Some of the features do indeed go some way to make FaceTime more like Zoom, while other features — like SharePlay — are all new and could offer great new ways of virtually hanging out with friends.”

Engadget: FaceTime is coming to PC and Android via a web app

Engadget: FaceTime is coming to PC and Android via a web app. “When iOS 15 arrives later this year, it will come with some significant upgrades to FaceTime. Apple’s Craig Federighi previewed those changes during WWDC 2021. One of the biggest tweaks is that Facetime will work with Android and Windows 10 PCs thanks to new shareable links Apple will let you send to your friends and family.”