But Like, Why Zoom Though?

I don’t know about you, but I had no idea that Zoom even existed until shortly before we all went into quarantine a few weeks ago. So imagine my surprise when I found out that this company was founded in 2011, reached “unicorn” status in 2017, and went public last year! It currently sits as THE most downloaded free app on the Google Play store, above titans like TikTok and Disney+. It has also seen a 67% increase in usage since the beginning of the year, and has been used to throw parties and facilitate blind dates.

And yet the question still remains – why has Zoom seen success, and not one of any zillions of other similar apps that offer competitive services like FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, or Skype? Nobody really knows for sure, but news articles I read through point to the same few sets of factors: (1) it’s embedding into many secondary and post-secondary institutions; (2) it’s branding, which makes it look newer and cooler than those connected to “older” companies; (3) it’s rapid and very public easing of usage restrictions as self-quarantine measures ramped up; and (4) it’s ease of use and reliability as a program.

That being said however, it’s always important to keep tabs on how your information is collected and used. A quick look through Zoom’s Privacy Policy highlight a few concerning features. Firstly, Zoom uses Google Ads and Google Analytics to collect information on the user while they use their products, including IP addresses, ISP, files and clickstream data. This data is used to help deliver targeted ads to users while on their platform. If you give other apps on the marketplace permission, they may also use the data that Zoom has collected from you, and Google may also use it to improve their own services. Fortunately, they explicitly deny selling personal data in the traditional sense, and allow for several opt-out procedures (although they are cumbersome to elect, such as requiring an authorized agent to write to Zoom).

Does that mean we shouldn’t use it? Not at all! It’s a great app and their Privacy Policy is very easy to read and clear about what is and isn’t being tracked. That’s all for me this time, stay safe and stay healthy!

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