| Cult of Mac

The best thing to happen to videoconferencing? iPad’s Center Stage.

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iPad’s Center Stage is the best thing to happen to video conferencing
Center Stage is Apple’s best creation in years.
Photo: Apple

A highlight of the just-released budget iPad and iPad mini is the addition of Center Stage, a feature that lets the front-facing camera follow someone on a video call. It’s brilliant. It makes FaceTime and Zoom calls so much simpler.

This is perhaps the best new feature Apple has come up with in years. If you have a recent iPad and aren’t using this videoconferencing feature, you’re missing out. And here’s hoping it gets built into the 2022 iPhone.

Zoom does an about-face on end-to-end encryption

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Zoom
Zoom will offer top-tier encryption to all users.
Photo: Allie Smith/Unsplash

Zoom promised on Wednesday to make end-to-end encryption an option for all users, not just paying ones.

This video conferencing app became incredibly popular during the COVID-19 epidemic. But it also drew criticism for weak security.

Zoom worked quickly to fix that, but again faced complaints when the company decided that end-to-end encryption would only be for paying customers. That’s a decision it changed today.

Facebook Messenger Rooms can handle calls with up to 50 people in US

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facebook.messenger.rooms
Facebook Messenger Rooms allows users to host video calls of up to 50 people free of charge.
Photo: Facebook

Facebook took on Zoom and FaceTime Thursday by enabling its new video-calling service, Messenger Rooms, to make free calls between as many as 50 people.

The feature was announced last month, and is available now is the US and Canada. It’ll be rolled out globally next week, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Zoom 5.0 aims to stamp out Zoombombing

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Zoom 5.0 brings much-needed security enhancements hoping to end Zoombombing.
When you’re having a Zoom meeting and Satan drops in unexpectedly? That’s Zoombombing.
Photo: Zoom/Cult of Mac

Zoom on Wednesday committed to upgrading the encryption in its video-chatting app. And Zoom 5.0, which will be out within the week, will include additional security controls for meeting hosts, like the ability to report disruptive users.

Use of this platform rose enormously since people around the world went into self quarantine. And criticism of Zoom’s security and privacy controls also increased dramatically as Zoombombing became a thing.

Quarantined photographer executes fantastic FaceTime fashion shoot

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Alessio Albi FaceTime model shoot
Alessio Albi makes screenshot magic on FaceTime.
Screenshot: Alessio Albi/Instagram

Quarantined photographers across the internet have used the lockdown to come up with personal projects they could shoot within the same confines of their home.

Condé Nast shooter Alessio Albi has one of the more interesting bodies of work to emerge from staying at home. He is using FaceTime for remote fashion shoots.

Facebook wants to put a camera in your living room

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Facebook Portal
Portal is Facebook's answer to the Echo Show.
Photo: Facebook

Do you trust Facebook to put a camera and microphone in your living room? If not, you’ll want to avoid Portal, its new smart displays focused on video chat.

Portal and Portal Plus make it easy to keep in touch with friends and family when you can’t see them face-to-face in real life. They can also play music, stream video, and do anything Amazon Alexa can do.

Snapchat adds group video chat and friend tagging

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Snapchat
Snapchat lets you video chat with up to 16 people.
Photo: Snapchat

Snapchat just rolled out a big update that gives users the ability to tag friends in Stories and enjoy chaotic group video chats with up to 16 people. It has also added support for even more ridiculous voice calls that support up to 32 people.