Zoom update delivers more emoji reactions and new annotation features

by Ryan

This week’s Zoom update includes a couple of quality of life improvements for anyone using its annotation or emoji reaction features, the company has announced. Meeting participants can now use any emoji that was previously available in Zoom chat to react during a meeting, up from the six meager options that were available previously. These include emoji with different skin colors. Hosts can also restrict emoji reactions to the standard six, if they prefer, and for larger accounts the full emoji set must be manually enabled by admins or account owners.

The service’s annotation feature is also being enhanced. Anyone who’s used Zoom’s annotation feature to draw text on the presentation screen will know how annoying it quickly becomes when you have to erase each scribble before you can move on. Now, a new “Vanishing Pen” tool on Windows, macOS, and Linux allows annotations to automatically disappear within “a couple of seconds.” If you’re drawing annotations on an Android or iOS tablet, there’s a new auto-shape feature to turn them into straight lines, rectangles, and ovals. Combined, these should keep Zoom presentations looking neater.

Annotations with the Vanishing Pen disappear within a couple of seconds.
Image: Zoom

A year ago, as Zoom exploded in popularity, it was hard to talk about the service without mentioning the privacy and security issues that were plaguing it at the time. Its encryption wasn’t actually end-to-end, and its default settings led to a wave of so-called “Zoombombings.” But in the year since, the company has rolled out fix after fix for its biggest issues, and now here we are talking about new emoji reaction features. What a way to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the company’s founding.

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