When a feature works, chances are it will be adopted by others. Microsoft followed Zoom’s lead and added virtual backgrounds to its Teams app last year. Google did the same, bringing the option to Education users on Google Meet as a testament to the feature’s popularity.
In order to stay ahead of the competition, Zoom has added Snapchat-style filters and a virtual receptionist. With the launch of “Immersive View,” a new type of virtual background that brings video participants together in one scene, it’s taking a page from its competitors.
The feature, according to Zoom, can simulate being in a classroom or boardroom, with everyone seated in front of the same backdrop.
In that sense, replacing the grid format with a shared background that places participants next to each other, could provide a less distracting setup than the traditional gallery view.
Users can upload their own virtual backgrounds or use the scenes provided by Zoom to keep things interesting. If this sounds familiar, it’s because Microsoft Teams offered a similar feature called Together Mode last summer.
The feature used artificial intelligence to pull your image and combine it with that of your coworkers in a virtual space similar to an auditorium.
The goal, according to Microsoft, was to provide a consistent layout for larger meetings in order to combat “video fatigue” in the age of remote working.
Up to 25 people can be in a scene with Zoom’s new feature, with additional participants displayed in a thumbnail strip. Hosts have the ability to place users into a virtual background of their choice automatically or manually, as well as move and resize them.
A webinar can see the hosts and participants in the scene during a webinar. Meanwhile, recordings will revert to either the gallery or speaker view layout, depending on which was originally selected.