Video conferencing has been the name of the game since last year, and Zoom has almost become synonymous with it. While Google continued to push Chromebooks as the perfect devices for work and study, they were ironically ill-equipped to handle the demands of heavy video chats, both in terms of hardware and especially software. It wouldn’t be until later that Google’s own Meet would land on Chromebooks and other similar platforms have yet to become available in full. That will happen next week when Zoom finally launches a dedicated app for Chromebooks on the Google Play Store.
To be clear, it has been possible to use Zoom on Chrome OS devices for quite a while now. Anyone using the web interface, however, would testify how unsatisfying that experience can be. It lacked critical features like break-out rooms and audio in screen sharing, things that have become more common when using video conferencing tools for remote work.
Zoom just recently announced, rather silently even, that it would be coming to Chromebook in its full glory through the Google Play Store. It won’t be a native Chrome OS app nor an Android app. Instead, it is aiming to hit as many birds with a single stone. That stone is, of course, a Progressive Web App or PWA.
Google has slowly been pushing for PWAs to become available on its Play Store, and Zoom’s name could lend more credibility to those efforts. For all intents and purposes, Zoom will be installed like an Android or PWA app and will behave like Zoom on other platforms. That includes access to features like customizable Gallery Views, Live Transcription, and Raise Hand and reactions.
Even more silently, Zoom released a Windows on ARM version of its client last a few days ago, making it one of the few big names with a native ARM version for Windows. Zoom, however, notes that this version doesn’t support virtual backgrounds and doesn’t say when or if it will become available.