After frustrating stay-at-home workers and parents looking for an easy way to connect their kids to Zoom because it wasn't available, the world's most popular video meeting application is finally coming to Amazon, Google and Facebook video display units. The Echo Show, Google Nest Hub Max and Facebook Portal were originally released as a way for folks to engage in video chatting and home entertainment without the bother of turning on the computer, phone or TV. That there would be a coronavirus that sent Zoom usage up 10x in less than a year wasn't foreseen, nor the need to have a dedicated video display that could handle one-touch setup for the meetings and classes, without the bother of phones and computers. But now, Zoom is finally coming to the devices, first to Portal, in September, the latest version of the Amazon Echo Show version 8 and Google's Nest Hub Max, but not until later this year. Jeff Smith, the head of Zoom Rooms, says users have found it a "challenge" to make laptops and phones work for them during Zoom meetings, so the company wanted to find a way to make the experience more "natural," for them. For Zoom, it's part of a new Zoom for Home initiative to bring the networking service to home devices. The Zoom for Home program also includes access to calendar on the devices.
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Working from home? Be more productive with Portal. Learn More. Compare Portals. Ship to multiple addresses at no extra cost. Smart video calling on the biggest screen in your home. Smart video calling on a Portal comes with Alexa Built-in, so you can see and do more. Just ask. Easily disable the camera and the microphone, or block the lens with the camera cover.
Smart Camera keeps every conversation front and center
With Alexa, your day just got easier. Use your voice to control your smart home, listen to your favorite music, watch the news and more, hands-free. Just ask. Use Alexa on Portal to control your smart home and manage your life. Have a question? See song lyrics and album art with Amazon Music, test your trivia skills, find recipes and fall asleep to ambient sounds at the end of the day. You can link your Amazon account through the setup experience or in product settings. To get started, sign in with your Amazon account and ask Alexa a question. Currently you can only link one Alexa account at a time on each device. To talk to Alexa, just say her name and ask a question.
I also find it confusing that Portal has two different voice assistants. With the Portal, you actually need both Alexa and "Hey Portal" to take full advantage of the voice integrations. Alexa voice commands work in much the same way as any Amazon smart speaker. It controls some of the smart display's core functionality -- adjusting speaker volume, placing video calls and opening Portal apps, but it doesn't offer the broad usability of Alexa or Google Assistant.