Zoom copies Microsoft Teams with Immersive View

Teams has been chasing Zoom for years. Now it's the other way around.

Credit: Dreamstime

Microsoft Teams has chased Zoom and other videoconferencing apps for years, taking the best of what they have to offer and integrating it. Now, the opposite is true: Zoom is taking Teams’ “Together Mode” and putting it into Zoom.

Zoom’s calling this “Immersive View,” but the principle is the same. Instead of stitching together a number of individual video windows into a video gallery, Immersive View uses artificial intelligence (AI) to extract your face and torso and put them into an artificial background, such as a coffee shop. It’s a way to humanise the experience, but also to see more faces on the screen at one time—up to 25.

Zoom isn’t saying how many backgrounds you’ll be to use with Immersive View. Once you turn on the feature, however, you’ll be able to add Zoom participants automatically into the Immersive View virtual background.

Credit: Zoom

Zoom says you’ll be able to rearrange participants manually around the background, and even resize individuals. Note that Zoom isn’t saying that you’ll be able to add 25 participants to all backgrounds, as some “smaller” scenes are being designed for smaller group settings.

Last year, Zoom said that Immersive View was on its roadmap, but the company is rolling out the feature today for all Free and single Pro accounts with Zoom 5.6.3 or higher. It can also be enabled via the Web portal for all other account types.

Immersive View is performed at the client level, which means that if you don’t have the capability to run Immersive View—or if others in your call don’t—they’ll simply see the standard Gallery View or Speaker View.

Ditto for recordings: They’ll be saved in the view that was being used before Immersive View was turned on. If someone shares their screen, Immersive View goes away. It won’t work for Breakout rooms, either.

If this all sounds familiar, it should: Microsoft launched Together Mode last year for Microsoft Teams, aligning participants in a conference mode or other virtual space. Since then, the company has announced updated backgrounds and made the feature a hallmark on some of its TV commercials. 

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Mark Hachman

Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
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