Zoom's answer to Slack is getting a new name and some new tools

Upcoming Slack update
(Image credit: Slack)

In an effort to better compete against rivals like Slack and Microsoft Teams, Zoom is taking its first steps in renovating its messaging app by revealing a name change and several new features.

Instead of being called Zoom Chat, the messaging platform will now be known as Zoom Team Chat. A relatively small change, but one that’s supposed to reflect the company’s revamped design philosophy for the app moving forward. Instead of just being known for its video call app, Zoom wants to play a more important role in hybrid work environments with Team Chat leading the charge as its collaborative hub.

As such, the upcoming suite of features will focus on fostering collaboration between colleagues in a channel. And all of the features are slated to launch by the end of September, according to Zoom.

New features

So far, six new features have been revealed with the first being an in-meeting text chat for video calls. Hosts can turn on this option and allow people to share meeting notes, important information, or hyperlinks throughout a call. Users will also be able to schedule a Zoom Meeting straight from either a channel or private chat. Currently, you have to open the Zoom desktop or mobile app to schedule a meeting. This streamlines that process.

For those particularly busy days, two new tools will be available to help organize your workflow. The Reminders feature will allow you to flag a message for Team Chat to notify you of its existence at a “more convenient time,” ensuring that you don’t miss anything. And if you get a spontaneous meeting invite, you can send a quick rejection message telling the other person you’re too busy at the moment and you’ll call later.

Team Chat will support further integration with third-party apps, although the full suite is unknown. According to a Zoom representative, ServiceNow will be one of the third-party apps. It'll come in the form of a virtual assistant that will help you troubleshoot any problems you may encounter on Team Chat or contact a service agent, instead.

And the final update is Progressive Web App support (PWA). Basically, this means you’ll be able to access Zoom Team Chat from a web browser instead of the standalone app. This is particularly useful if you need to access your work team’s channel but you don’t have access to your computer or space is limited on your mobile device. 

Zoom also confirms more is on the way. In the announcement, the company revealed it’s holding a Zoomtopia 2022 event from November 8th to the 9th where an additional round of features will be shown off among other product updates. Registration is currently open for the event and it’s free to join. 

Fierce competition

Competition is heating up among the work messaging platforms as they strive to be king of the hill. Slack, for example, is working on implementing new automation features to help people do more with less. Workflows on the platform will be more shareable as users can send hyperlinks that will appear as interactive windows. And Slack will have a new branching tool to optimize requests for days off.

Microsoft, on the other hand, seems to be throwing everything but the kitchen sink at its Teams app. Almost every day, there’s news about some upcoming Teams features like the ability to share GIFs or adding holding music to phone calls, which has drawn criticism. But there are more welcomed changes like new notifications that let you know if you’ve been added to a group chat.

Although these are the big three, there are alternatives for video calls that you can try out. We recommend checking out TechRadar’s best Zoom alternatives list for 2022, which has been updated.

Cesar Cadenas

Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.