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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.