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Why isn't zoom running fully in the web browser at this point? Meet does this, and as far as I can tell the quality is indistinguishable from Zoom. Can someone with a better understanding of the underlying protocols shed light on why Zoom continues to ship a separate desktop app?

They do have a web client, but not WebRTC. See this reverse engineering of their protocol: https://webrtchacks.com/zoom-avoids-using-webrtc/

TBH I don't really understand their rationale. Nothing about it strikes me as "better" than WebRTC.

To allow meeting participants to use the web client to connect to a meeting requires the meeting host to explicitly enable the option in their advanced settings (it is disabled by default).

"as far as I can tell the quality is indistinguishable from Zoom"

In my experience, the quality is similar to Meet when all parties have great internet connections. But if one or more parties has high/variable latency or packet loss, then Zoom provides a much more smooth experience.

You can do so much better using a native app than a webapp. UDP transport is really important for real-time communication.

WebRTC typically does use UDP. But it certainly isn't as flexible as what you can do with a native app.

Not related to zoom, but I'm working with a team which uses 'highfive'. I can't, for the life of me, get the downloaded desktop app to ever work. There's this perpetual dance of "you need to be logged in" and "register now" and "log in". I was thinking it was something to do with the VPN, but it seems to be the same on or off. However, grabbing the full URL and pasting in to Chrome, works like a champ. I'd prefer to use the desktop app, but I can only get the browser version to work.

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