My latest discovery for ways to EASILY talk to family, friends and/or clients, if you are in business, is ZOOM.us. When I read on Facebook that my friend Camara Randolph, on her iPad, had a session with a client while sitting on a park bench, I immediately went to check it out. The program she was using is ZOOM, an application which can EASILY be used on computers, iPads and other tablets, as well as iPhones and other Smart Phones.
The added “wow” for me was Camara’s mentioning that she was able to share images from her iPad with her client. I’d been wondering if there was an even easier way than Google Hangouts. I was so excited when I discovered it a few months ago. I was mainly drawn to it for the screen sharing possibility and then the fact that there could be up to 12 people in a Hangout, contrasted with only 2 people on Skype.
When working with my clients, I found it challenging to explain the different steps in the other seemingly more complex programs, especially since so often there are updates and changes. I was also frustrated because mobile phones and tablets did not seem to have all the capabilities on Hangouts as the more robust computer applications. In any case, “chat” was not possible in the latter, at least not in what I was able to find.
Zoom.us seems to be able to do it all – text chat, voice chat AND you also have the option to VIDEO RECORD. What a great way to have small family gatherings and preserve the memories for those there, as well as those who could not attend.
And, one of the most surprising features is that for 40 minutes, or less, of time spent together there is NO charge for the service. If you want an unlimited amount of time for up to 50 people, then it’s only $14.99 per month. You can also choose a yearly plan which factors out to even less per month.
So, I invite you now to join me in understanding how to use ZOOM.us for your needs. The screen shots below will show you step by step and explain some of the variations with different Apple devices. I’m assuming the PC and Androids would be similar.
As you you can see from the e-mail invitation above you can join from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device. There is a direct link to join on the email you will receive as an invited participant. The participant ID is also shown separately. You will need that if you choose to respond to the “Join Meeting” option. Or, you can conference in by phone and be heard by everyone in the meeting as well as hear them.
When you click on “join a conference” on any of your devices you will be asked the first time only to download the ZOOM application. It is amongst the quickest, easiest downloads I, and anyone with whom I tested this, have experienced.
How to Host a Meeting –
First – Go to http://zoom.us and click on Free Account.
Then click on Host a Meeting and Sign Up Free if this is your first time, or Log In. All that’s required of first-time hosts is first and last name, email address and agreement to terms of service. Participants responding to an invitation by link or conference ID do not have to sign up for anything.
After Logging In
What you see in the image on the right is the Dashboard with an Options Panel that will open on the right of the screen of the one who will be Hosting the meeting.
You can choose to Schedule a one-time meeting or it can be recurring. When using this option you will be given the choice of putting it on one of the major calendars and inviting from there, or you can choose to start with a Video Meeting or Screen Share Meeting.
Selecting Video will bring your image up on the screen.
If you do not see the menu on the bottom on the computer, place your mouse in the window and it will appear. Tapping on the Window in Mobile Device brings up the Control Panel there.
You can now invite participants from the Invite link.
A window will open with options for Default Email, which will open up in your mail program, Gmail or Yahoo Mail or you can click on Copy URL on the bottom for the “Invitation URL” and put the link in a Social Media post or wherever else it might make sense.
Using ZOOM features for both hosts and participants –
In the process of going through all that I could to make it easy for you, I wound up having fun using all three of my Apple devices. In the photo above are the “participants” I saw when on my Mac (the main view), my iPad and my iPhone. You see me chatting with myself! (Chat explained below.)
Screen Sharing –
On the iPhone image to the right there is only one other participant photo on the bottom. The iPad had left the meeting.
What you are seeing in the center of the phone image is the Screen Share being done by the Mac participant.
To Screen Share on any of your devices, simply click or tap on “Screen Share.”
On your computer as seen below, an image of all of your open windows will appear. Simply click on the window you wish to share.
To share something on the Internet simply select an open browser. Both host and participants can screen share.
Screen Sharing on your Mobile Device – As you see from the image on the right, tapping “screen share” brings up a Menu. Choices on a Mobile Device are to:
Share from Dropbox,
Share from Box,
Share from Bookmark.
When you share from the web the participants will see all of your activity along with hearing any of your comments.
Sharing Travel Experiences – In my exploration of Zoom with a friend, I went to Flickr photo sharing service on the Internet. Though my friend’s PC does not have a camera, she was able to follow my movement as I as I cycled through photos she had posted in her free account on FLickr. With excitement and delight, she talked about some of the highlights from a recent trip. What a great way to share your trips or family events with those who could not be there. Everyone can see and ask and answer questions.
To Chat –
On your Mobile device tap on “Participants“. A window with open with a list of all of the participants. You can select one, or “Chat with All” (upper right on the phone or iPad)
On your Computer the option is in the menu bar on the bottom of your screen.
Ways of Viewing Participants (and Screen Shares) –
You can choose whom you wish to see enlarged on your screen. Simply click or tap their image in the control panel.
As dialogue is going on, you can choose to be viewing the video of the person speaking either in small size or full screen.
1 – For a gallery view, where you see images of all the participants, click on the first of the two icons at the top right of your screen (as shown in the image above).
2 – On your computer, clicking on the icon in the far right of the control bar at the top will bring any image full screen. To go back to default size, use the escape button on your keyboard.
To Record the meeting – Simply click on the small record icon bottom right on the control bar. To stop recording, click the button again or it will complete when the meeting ends. Shortly thereafter an MP4 will be created and downloaded to your computer in whatever folder you’ve designated in your settings.
If a participant wishes to record, he/she will get a message to get permission from the host.
If any recording is to be done, I urge you to get permission of everyone in the meeting, especially if there’s a possibility that you might post it on YouTube or other public place.
Computer Settings for Zoom –
You might never need to go to the Settings Control and I’m bringing it to your attention should you have challenges, especially in hearing someone talking or in their hearing you.
Clicking on Settings brings up the window shown below. By default, the Built-in Speakers will show. Clicking on “Test Speaker”(and speaking) will show your volume in green.
If someone says they can’t hear you well, test your “Microphone” by speaking into your external microphone, or talking at your computer. Make sure you have the green bar moving well, toward the upper end.
Controls and Settings for Using Zoom
Using Zoom on PCs and Android Devices – I am assuming that the system and controls are pretty much the same and that you should be able to follow along from what’s been covered in this post. If there is a big difference, please let me know.
To sign up for a FREE account for up to 60 people on an unlimited number of calls of up to 40 minutes, which includes the option to video and audio record the sessions, simply click or tap on ZOOM.
Lastly, I would appreciate your feedback. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the “Leave a Reply” box below, or email them to me at email@example.com
Have you used Zoom.us or are you likely to now? If so, for connecting with family? friends? and/or business associates?
How do you plan to use it?
Also, do you have a parent, friend, or perhaps you, who would appreciate one-on-one support on learning/using any one of the electronic communication devices? If so, I invite you to consider gifting them, or yourself, with one of my “Coaching Gift Packages”. Click on Special Offer.
You are just THE BEST BEST BEST at SIMPLIFYING the internet!! You need to write some FAST TIPS Booklets people could buy on different topics!! Sell on Kindle!! TRULY!!
Morgine, thank you so very much for your kind words and suggestions. I appreciate your feedback, particularly that you find what I post simplified and helpful. The books will come. Most appreciatively, Sheila
Sheila, this is fantastic! I so appreciate all the time it took for you to put these tutorials together. I have been using GoToMeeting and Google Hangouts for training and now am going to give Zoom.Us a try. I think it will solve many challenges I and attendees have in participating in online webinars. The fact that this can be recorded ia an added bonus.
In fact, next week on Thursday (October 24th) I will give the first one – an overview of blogging… It is a 5 week course on How to Use Blogging for Business. Thanks again for your time, talent and technology tips.
Heidi Richards Mooney
Thanks so much for the acknowledgment and trust, Heidi. I think you will be very happy with Zoom.us. There support is exceptional. I had a Zoom meeting yesterday with Ross from Tech Support. One or two participants in one of my meetings said that my voice was breaking up and there was a sporadic hollow sound. I ended up muting the audio on my computer and phoned into the meeting while retaining the video functionality of the meeting.
In our Zoom meeting Ross heard and saw immediately that not only was my voice breaking up on his end, my video was jumpy also. There was, of course, a solution. By connecting my computer directly to the modem via Ethernet cable, there is now no interference or breaking up. Bandwidth is consistent throughout. This is another thing that a couple of participants had mentioned. I thought the low bandwidth messages they were receiving was on their end. Evidently it was on mine.
See the video I recorded of the meeting with Ross – http://youtu.be/CdqyerfvE3s for Ross’s explanation of what was happening and how to change settings. At approximately 10:00, if you want to move the drag bar, Ross explains how their cloud-based technology providing less troublesome meetings the usual peer-to-peer technology where one person with a bad connection will affect everyone’s.
BTW, the recording of meetings is seamless. Simply click on “record”. In less than a minute it seems the MP4 opens in Quicktime and as it automatically lands in a folder I had set up for these videos.
Have fun and let us know how it all works out for you and your participants.
Besides being great for entrepreneurs, this information is exquisitely useful to families. We are coming up to the holidays. What a gift! Thank you for your work and time spent on this. It is worth a great deal.
Thanks, Marifran. I love the “exquisitely useful”! And, yes, this is a wonderful way for families and friends to get together. Please stop back and let us know if any of your family and/or friends use this.
Oh Sheila, a half hour reading your post about Zoom.us,learning its application in your so clear and useful demonstration was nothing but enlightening! You made me a pro by the simple fact that I understand now why Google Hangouts is still such a struggle for me. You pointed out the much more user-friendly issues with Zoom. In addition, I enjoyed the video how you resolved your recording issue with the Zoom customer service technician. Specifically, I learned what it means that Zoom is designed on a cloud-based technology.
Most of all, Sheila, you gave me the confidence to no longer shy away from reaching out to clients (once I am ready) because you truly demonstrated again Technology for Seniors Made Easy!! Thank You!
Wow, Ute!!! What a testimonial. Thank you so very much.
I’m sure Zoom would love to see this comment, or an adapted version of it, on my guest blog post there at http://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2013/11/05/guest-blogger-technology-coaching-connections-via-zoom/
Your sharing of your own accomplishments and now feeling of self-assuredness is greatly appreciated!
Thank you so much, Sheila, for introducing me to Zoom. Your article is easy to follow and makes learning how to use this system very easy. I’ve learned Google Hangouts and have tried them. There is a learning curve. My challenge has been doing it via wifi where I would periodically be thrown off a hangout. It appears from one of your responses that Zoom may have a similar issue. I guess I need to get another modem either way, as I have been using a wireless one which may cause some problems. I will definitely check out Zoom and give it a try. Thank you for all you do to help others understand technology.
My pleasure, Charlene. So glad you found this helpful. As excited as I was with Google Hangouts, I have found it very frustrating, at times, to get in even as a participant. So there was no way I could see of easily using it with newbies to technology.
Re possible WiFi challenges… I have NEVER been kicked off of a Zoom meeting. What happened, prior to the tech support meeting you evidently saw, is that my voice and image were breaking up for some people at times during the call. So it wasn’t “clean.”
Fortunately for me my computer is only a couple of feet from my modem, so no problem in connecting by Ethernet. I did switch to WiFi during a test call with a friend so I could demo my iPad on my computer desktop, using Reflector. I was breaking up and when finished I switched back to Ethernet… All of it was seamless with no dropping off as I made the switches.
I may be experimenting with both tonight, in the first of a 2 session course on the iPad. You are welcome to join us to see what happens on your end. If interested, send me an email for details.
Great tutorial Sheila! Will try this out soon 🙂