September 30, 2022

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Zoom launches avatars for those who don’t want to appear during a call

2 min read

Zoom Video Communications Inc. today introduced native avatars for users who don’t want to appear on the screen during a call.

Available for Zoom Meetings and Zoom Webinar, Avatars replace a user’s appearance with a virtual animal that mirrors head movements and facial expressions. Although Zoom describes the avatars as an easy and entertaining way to engage with attendees and create a bit of fun, the company also notes that they are a good middle ground for users who don’t want to appear on camera but still want to express body language and facial expressions.

Zoom’s technology uses the camera to detect where a face is on the screen and then applies the selected avatar filter. Images of a user’s face do not leave their device and are not stored or sent to Zoom. The feature does not use facial recognition, meaning that it does not identify users.

“While the Avatars feature can tell what is or is not a face, it does not recognize or distinguish between individual faces,” Zoom notes. The feature initially launches with animal avatars, with Zoom noting that updates, including new avatars, will be coming in the future.

“Video communication is a modern marvel, but creating those magical and spontaneous moments that make in-person interactions so special can be difficult in a virtual setting,” Zoom said in a blog post. “Our teams at Zoom are always looking for ways to help you connect with others.”

The Zoom animal avatars are available in the Zoom desktop client or mobile app running version 5.10.0 or higher. An account owner or administrator must also enable the ability to use the avatars.

To use the feature, users should ensure their web camera is on with video-enabled and then in the meeting toolbar, open video options by selecting the “Stop Video” menu. From this point, the Choose Virtual Background or Choose Video Filter option is selected with the Avatars tab then available.

Zoom recommends that avatars are ideal for hybrid work, teaching, making pediatric care less stressful and creating memorable moments during virtual events.

Image: Zoom

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