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A beginner’s guide to using Zoom

Before the pandemic, many companies were already using the videoconferencing app Zoom for business meetings, interviews, and other purposes. These days, many individuals facing long days without contact with friends and family have moved to Zoom for face-to-face and group get-togethers.

This is a quick guide for those who haven’t tried Zoom yet or who aren’t yet familiar with its features (or who have used it with friends but want to start initiating their own meetings). It featuring tips on how to get started using the free version. One thing to keep in mind: while one-to-one video calls can go as long as you want, any group calls on Zoom are limited to 40 minutes. If you want to have longer talks without interruption (and want a few extra features), you can either pay for Zoom’s Pro plan ($14.99 a month); you can also try an alternative videoconferencing app. (Note: there have been reports that the 40 minutes is sometimes extended — at least one staffer from The Verge found that an evening meeting with five friends was sent an extension when time started running out — but there has been no official word of any change from Zoom.)

The first thing to do, of course, is to register for the service. You can do this either from your laptop or from your mobile phone. We’ll cover the web service first.

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