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Stop using Zoom, Hamburg’s data protection agency warns state government (techcrunch.com)
568 points by jrepinc 3 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 229 comments

I recommend almost anything else at all other than Zoom.

As a security researcher that has reported a number of issues to Zoom, I can say without reservation they are one of the most security negligent companies I ever worked with.

It was evident after multiple calls with their team they didn't employ anyone strong technically in their US offices and had no idea how to translate security issues, even obvious ones like DNS takeover, to their (I assume China based) eng teams.

The software was designed without security as even a thought as many researchers have demonstrated. To this day the clients expect administrative access for no reason. I refuse to install them and tolerate the webapp when people insist on Zoom.

A friend and I compiled this list to consider.


Zoom has fixed the UX in this business, which is the one thing that matters most™, and which is why they will continue to be successful.

It's like a restaurant which has the absolute best food by a mile, so they remain in business despite the cockroaches and unfriendly waitstaff.

Most customers don't really care about privacy and security, they just want to pretend, and as long as they can easily pretend they're happy.

Which UX problem do you think it fixed? If I had to rate by the ability to successfully start a call and not have technical issues interrupt it, I'd rank Zoom, Teams, Slack, and Google Meet roughly equivalent — the quality isn't as good or robust as Facetime but that's also not designed for meetings or cross-platform.

I'd accept Google self-selecting out of the market with their incoherent messaging strategy but that has nothing do with UX other than not needing to tell people to uninstall the old apps and install the current one.

When Zoom first came onto the scene, the other technologies you've listed had more friction than coarse grained sandpaper. Zoom was the very first to let people join meetings without a) signing up; and b) downloading anything. I don't know about all the solutions you've listed, but Google Meet for example still requires an account whereas Zoom still does not.

As more and more people use Zoom, the friction of using it decreases as well, since you can more safely assume that people have used it before and are familiar with it - if not, they can still use it without making an account, and without downloading anything (though this has become a bit harder now).

Furthermore, Zoom was also one of the first solutions to let you simply call in with your phone (and put that option front and center), which also does not require accounts or any downloads.

There are probably many other things I'm glossing over here - UX is a holistic phenomenon after all, and requires many small things to feel right. I'm not sure whether you're arguing that Zoom did not have 10x better UX than anything out there when it launched, but if you are, I can't help but think you're being willfully ignorant.

> Zoom was the very first to let people join meetings without a) signing up; and b) downloading anything

I find your second part interesting because for years Zoom has tried to force you to download their client — you have to learn how to construct the web URL to generate links to use it in a browser since they removed the option from their web UI.

> I'm not sure whether you're arguing that Zoom did not have 10x better UX than anything out there when it launched, but if you are, I can't help but think you're being willfully ignorant.

I'm not sure why you're inclined to take such an uncharitable view but I'm coming at it from the perspective of someone who was relatively late to using Zoom (2020) and found it pretty similar to the competition. I used Skype, WebEx, Teams, Hangouts/Meet, and Chime professionally first and Facetime / Hangouts personally prior to that and the only one I'd say is 10x worse is Skype.

Re: join via web, in my experience if you reject the download a few times it'll pop up the link. Clearly a dark pattern attempting to force you to install their insecure and frankly kind of crappy software, but apparently one they're aware of problems with. They just don't care.

I used Zoom yesterday after months and I had to download the client. I was in hurry because a customer sent me a link so I didn't investigate much. They usually make calls on Slack which works well and already has all of their conversations.

WebEx used to be a nightmare with a Java client. Maybe it's better now but I didn't use it for years on a computer. I had an Android tablet with the WebEx app and I used that. Luckily no customer of mine is using WebEx anymore.

I never used Chime and never heard about it until now.

Skype doesn't have URLs AFAIK. I used it with a small group of friends during lockdowns because it was the intersection of what all of them had. We rejoined the same call every time. It works well once started. Cumbersome to start.

Meet has the least friction: create a call, send a URL, click/tap to join. I don't remember if a Google account is required but everybody has one in this part of the world because of Android. It works well.

Teams has a mandatory download AFAIK, I got a customer that uses it. It works well once started. I have no idea if I can start a call without an Office 365 account. I remember that it asks me to login to that customer's Office.

FaceTime, never used because it's an Apple only thing. I don't have the hardware.

Duo, I think it improved since its launch but despite being in the phones everybody uses here, everybody makes call with WhatsApp. I think Google lost the network effect battle.

WhatsApp is the easiest to start a call with but no URLs, no calls on the desktop. The quality is not very good, maybe because people can have poor connections on their phones (mobile data or crowded WiFi channels.)

Telegram added group calls recently but I never used them. Network effects again and at least 10 times less market penetration. One to one calls where on par with WhatsApp.

> Teams has a mandatory download AFAIK, I got a customer that uses it. It works well once started. I have no idea if I can start a call without an Office 365 account. I remember that it asks me to login to that customer's Office.

I've had to use Teams in an educational environment for around two years, and thankfully it's never forced me into downloading their (frankly dodgy[0]) desktop client.

It's always required a login to O365 for me. They try and manipulate you into using the app with their constant "Get the app" splash screens, though.

Google Meet does not require an account to join a meeting.


Um, it does...?

Under "Personal account users":

"Anyone who isn’t signed into a Google account can’t join your meetings."

This is a feature, not a bug: https://workspaceupdates.googleblog.com/2020/07/anonymous-us...

Although: "Note, this does not prevent users from dialing in by phone."

That’s specific to the education SKU and is to prevent zoom-bombing… and an admin can disable it.

> Zoom was the very first to let people join meetings without a) signing up; and b) downloading anything

E.g. BigBlueButton and Jitsi were doing it for much longer.

Both of those do not consistently work across a large organisation (1k+ users) without perfectly homogenous hardware. That means they're effectively unusable.

For an overwhelming majority of Zoom users, scaling over 1k users is not a concern.

Which is irrelevant because those who knew about those are not the significant majority which is responsible for the success of zoom

So the point is not that zoom was better UX wise, but simply had better marketing, or not?


Honestly - there's huge, massive room for better UX that would really revolutionize online communication:

- Presence indicator/avatar in your toolbar of close contacts or team

- Push-to-talk to send audio to anyone from toolbar with non-disruptive indicator

- Instant screen/mouse share from there with audio and floating video optional

- Just so many fluidity improvements if you do a more minimal video window that can add/remove people without friction

I really wish someone would build it.

"Hey Bot, find out from Alice when I need to have those slides finished. Kind of urgent."

It immediately sends an email and a slack message. An hour later, it asks if you want to send an SMS or call to Alice.

Jitsi was awful. So it’s a combo. Zoom wouldn’t be where it is if it was Jitsi. I used Jitsi from 2018-2020. So many problems with it. You won’t find anywhere close to the polarizing views of the actual usability or Jitsi compared to Zoom or any other better app in any niche.

Zoom certainly invested millions in marketing before and during the pandemic. Airports were plastered with zoom advertisement. I truly believe marketing and a simple ordering process account for a huge part of zoom's success, not features or UX.

Pre-pandemic, I used both Bluejeans and (Blackboard.com's) Collaborate Ultra. Bluejeans already let you use your phone years before. Neither required an account for anyone but meeting organiser. Collaborate Ultra doesn't even have a native app (as far as I know), it only has a web app.

I have no idea why so many folks like Zoom; I find it to be less useful than either. E.g. using external monitor with different resolution is handled very poorly.

It’s tight integration with calendar systems and Slack definitely help. Their browser extension makes Google Calendar event creation have a Zoom Meeting link that is seamless, and /zoom is irresistible. For a time they had the best free tier on the market, and people appreciated the 45 minute time limit that came along with it.

FWIW the competition was terrible for a time. I’ve never been on a BlueJeans call that wasn’t painful, Google Meet/Hangouts had terrible quality, GoToMeeting was neglected post-acquisition, slack killed their meeting product for a while, and WebEx was bloated. Join.me was my goto for a while, but now I use Jitsi when I get to choose, but usually end up on Zoom calls.

I think a lot of it is that everyone has heard of Zoom, and Zoom works pretty well for calls with a lot of people, so it became the default for group video calls.

The “UX” in this case was “fixed” by being less crashy than the competition for long enough to earn a reputation.

As someone with a security background myself, I really hope organizations use it less and less, because the competition by now works just fine. But as a human living in the world, I don’t refuse to use Zoom, I just use it on my iPad and assume the conversation is intercepted somewhere.

> Which UX problem do you think it fixed?

You can join a call without signing up

The reason Zoom won is their meeting URLs which open their app, combined with no registration requirement. It's just a very viral product.

Probably the camera and microphone on by default.

I remember people pleasantly surprised that they just clicked a link and everything worked, instead of minutes of “click that button to enable video”.

I find Zoom’s interface terrible, but I’m not a good reference for average user.

Really? Their UI/UX within a call is the worst of the major video conferencing tools, IMO.

I think it's because we power users want more from a UI, but to Average Joe, Zoom is great because all the simple stuff is easy to understand.

I can tell you that this is pretty much everyone. I've just experienced this in some interviews and conferences where people were using Zoom and Teams for the first time.

There was definitely much more confusion when using Zoom than teams. How do I share my screen? How do I open the participants/chat when sharing the screen ... The interface especially when sharing a screen is absolutely horrible.

I've got to agree with the GP on this. I would argue Zoom is one of the least simple to understand UIs.

- It's multi-window (like WebEx). Whereas Teams and Meets is a single window interface

- It has a great many options and not all of them are immediately obvious. Like how filters are hidden behind then stop cam button

I'm not saying I'm a fan of MS Teams nor Google Meets either. But they do have a much slicker UI.

Teams gas recently switched to multi window, too.

That's not been my experience. Is that an opt in (ie none default behaviour) or a specific Teams client running on a specific machine?

I've used the Mac, Linux and Windows client regularly up until 2 months ago (using pretty much the default settings) and since it's just been the Mac client.

Many of the replies to your comment have the "No wireless, less space than a nomad" vibe" People seem to nitpick or claim equivalence between individual features, but like you say, Zoom was the sea change toward mass videoconferencing.

completely disagree. The pandemic was the sea change toward mass videoconferencing. Zoom just surfed the wave significantly better than others, thanks to good marketing and a simple ordering process. (Ordering Webex has gotten better but I dare you to order it back in 2019 for example...)

Except they don't have the best food, they have the illusion of it.

When I had to do interviews recently I had to use a wide variety of Video Conference Software, and Zoom was the only one which had some arbitrary user unfix-able not configuration related problems.

Ok, slack also sucks bad if any part has a problematic internet connection, but I only ran into it after I had a new job ;=)

But yes, the UX is better compared to e.g. MS Teams, but MS Teams works way more reliable (for Video Conferences, assuming it's only used for that and no "fancy" business access control features are enabled).

Honestly airsend (https://www.airsend.io) works better than Zoom . Airsend can join meetings without creating accounts (God send for interviewing job candiy). With all the Zoom dark ui patterns galore, UX is confusing for new users. Zoom forces desktop app and quality has come down also. Now Teams and Meet are even better than Zoom.

Zoom, Webex, Google, all offer guest joining without creating an account, you need to check your facts.

I agree that zoom pushing the desktop app is bad though.

Disclaimer: Have worked with many smart folks who now work at Zoom.

I agree that Zoom has had numerous security and privacy failings. I think it is important to color the characterization of their security teams with a timeline however.

Looking at that gist - the majority of the content predates the conclusion of the "90 day security plan" [1]. The team, and product no doubt, has changed immensely in the past year. That doesn't wallpaper over the history here, but there is completely different security leadership (e.g the current CISO didn't start until late June 2020 [2]) and staffing in place at this point that means your statements on their team likely aren't reflective of Zoom today.

[1] https://blog.zoom.us/ceo-report-90-days-done-whats-next-for-... [2] https://blog.zoom.us/zoom-hires-jason-lee-as-chief-informati...

It is easy to say "we are better now, we promise". They straight up lied about security features like e2e for years, and leadership is still mostly the same. They only started seriously hiring in security because they got caught over and over and over.

I have worked with companies with some of the best security people in the world who had no cooperation from engineering to roll out basic risk reductions like code review because it might mean slowing down velocity a bit. To be blunt, security people as often hired with big pairs of golden handcuffs in order to make security marketing more believable, regardless of the reality.

The only way to win back trust of the security minded at this point, is to do what strong competitors like BigBlueButton and Jitsi did: Open source, and invite anyone from the public to audit code and compile binaries as they like.

There is virtually 0 chance they ever do this, but if they did, I would gladly audit it for free out of public interest, and have no problem doing a 180 and actively recommending zoom if it becomes easy to verify it is as good or better than the competition at security and privacy.

For now I maintain my position of strongly urging all my clients to abandon Zoom in favor of historically honest and highly accountable alternatives that work just as well as Zoom without constantly pestering users to grant Zoom with blind sweeping remote code execution privileges on their systems.

I agree that company culture is something that goes top down and you do not change by simply swapping out the security team. Zoom has (had?) a culture of wilful negligence, taking dangerous shortcut (they are the only company whose mess Apple had to fix themselves with security patch for god sake – I still can't believe this one actually), etc.

I might be pessimistic but I don't think such a culture is something you can correct very easily, because it is anchored at the very top of the company.

and yet i still dont trust their shitware. there's a lesson to be learned there.

You can't be pleased?

by people who show themselves to be willfully negligent of the basics? fuck no.

The security issues were such that the product should be tainted forever, or at the very least for the next ten years.

Offer a comparable alternative, then. I spend half my day on meetings either internally or with clients, and every time I have to jump on a client meeting with Microsoft Teams/Google Hangouts/WebEx/GotoMeeting because their company bans Zoom, it's a recipe for a fruitless meeting. Someone will fumble the sharing controls; screens will take forever to present; at least one person's microphone will become inaudible, static-y, or suffer from "robot voice slow-down" lag.

To say nothing of the clusterf*ck that happens when two company-specific instances of Microsoft Teams try to communicate with each other and I'm left with a bunch of orphaned chatrooms with outside personnel after the meeting concludes.

> Offer a comparable alternative, then

Here's a few:

  - https://meet.jit.si/ which you can also self host https://github.com/jitsi
  - https://bigbluebutton.org/ which you can also self host https://github.com/bigbluebutton
I've found that they're especially useful, when integrated with Rocket.Chat https://rocket.chat/ which you can also self host https://github.com/RocketChat

That way you have an experience that's a lot like Slack/Teams, with pretty good support for chat, reactions, file uploads, discussions, making quotes etc., while also being able to start video/audio calls with the press of a single button.

Of course, if that's too many platforms, Rocket.Chat also supports WebRTC, albeit the UX was a bit less stellar when i last tried it.

Alternatively, there is also Nextcloud Talk, which can integrate with your instance of Nextcloud and allow for file sharing, chatting etc., though personally i found Rocket.Chat to be more usable: https://nextcloud.com/talk/

Regardless, those are some very competent options which allow all the data to remain on your own servers.

AdmiralAsshat's point was that all of the alternatives sucked because they were difficult or flakey to use: they weren't "comparable". Notably, the alternatives being mentioned as non-comparable weren't even trying to be local: they were remote service/ (which if you think Zoom is particularly bad, is still an improvement) built by giant companies that have tons of resources to have an army working on just these tools... and they all still sucked.

You then responded to this comment by just matter-of-factly asserting that you had the list of missing alternatives... but, really, you are simply hijacking the thread to point out that alternatives exist "which allows all the data to remain on your own servers"; but, you provide no evidence or argument to address whether these products are actually "comparable" (to the point where it just feels like you didn't even understand the point being made) in a way that, say, Google Hangouts--which is the product Google created WebRTC for!--isn't.

I use https://meet.jit.si/ daily and can confirm it is easier to use than Zoom or Hangouts.

No nag screens trying to get me to install desktop clients or trying to get me to create an account or give up personal information.

It just works.

Like all apps that are "just" WebRTC, jitsi doesn't work well on networks with persistently high packet loss. A VC app needs to work reliably 99.99% of the time, not just 99% of the time.

Agreed. I suggested Jitsi to a few university professors early in the pandemic last year. They used it for a good 6 months, with classes of about 20 people, 2-3 times a week.

The experience of not having to login and fuss with accounts was great. However, when everyone had their cameras on + screen sharing, audio quality typically suffered.

These professors since moved on to use Zoom and it’s way more stable. I don’t like Zoom generally (for many of the reasons noted in this thread), but it’s definitely reliable.

Galène[1], which is FLOSS, was specifically developed by the University of Paris for the purpose you're describing.

The UI is terrible, I'll admit that, but the performance and scalability is better than Zoom.

[1] https://galene.org/

This is basically trading one reliability issue for another. The one chosen by the professor is reliable in excluding some students, the ones who actually care about their privacy, from the conferences.

Jitsi works nowhere near as well as Zoom or any other VC for me. More than once we've had to go back to zoom when it drops our connection every other minute.

I disagree that alternatives are flakey or difficult to use. If anything it's the opposite. I use BBB daily (and sometimes Jitsi) with a very varied group (including people who never had a computer before) and the results are much better than with Zoom. Maybe Zoom is intuitive if you grew up with computers and with bad software, but honestly the quasi-requirement of installation (it's non-trivial to use the web version) and the dark patterns galore are hard to navigate for non-techy people.

I think the OP meant options that are as "easy" as click on a link and join a meeting. I use BBB and Mumble but there are others I know who would never know how to set up their own instance or even what github is.

jitsi is exactly that, been using it for the whole pandemic for meetings for my team of 10 ppl, never had an issue.

Jitsi won't consistently work at scale and is (like most webrtc only applications) a terror to debug. You can basically forget about using it with someone that has issues.

This is why multiple companies exist to sell you one-click hosted instances of these without lock-in.

Yeah, the press release https://datenschutz-hamburg.de/pressemitteilungen/2021/08/20... mentions that (in addition to a nameless internal videoconferencing tool) Hamburg uses Dataport as a vendor, which seems to imply Jitsi Meet: https://video.openws.de/

Yes, there are many self-hosted options out there. https://github.com/meetecho/janus-gateway works well for multi-party video with up to about 15 users in a room assuming everyone has a reasonably reliable connection.

Janus caught my attention when I was looking at WebRTC servers (SFUs) last year, but I couldn't find any good FOSS web apps for it. Do any exist?

It is a complete video conferencing package by itself, so you generally don't need anything else. It just works out of the box to give you multi-party video conferencing across multiple rooms.

We use it in our (closed source) online tutoring / whiteboard software, and it is pretty easy to integrate, by taking their videoroom sample code.

What is it you're looking for?

I didn't see a video conference web app. I did find the Video Room on the demos page, but it doesn't look suitable for real-world use. I didn't notice anything better in a quick scan of the janus-gateway github page, nor in debian's list of janus* packages.

Perhaps I'm overlooking something?

BBB was a mess. It's security and privacy may be great on paper (open source, self hosted). But that's the lawyer's side.

In practice: BBB had server-side mute, so your muted microphone would still send audio to the server. Servers could be compromised through uploaded documents (processed by LibreOffice).

The biggest problems might have been fixed by now. But self hosting half baked software isn't an alternative to most.

Element, too!

Element actually uses jitsi.

Oh right, they're just planning to get voice and video working over matrix natively in the semi near future

it’s working already actually (in alpha) :)

I like your line reasoning… but the problem with video conferencing isn’t really technical- IMO it’s all about the User experience (UX). Zoom by far beats the competition in this regard. It’s UI could be better but compared the mess of competitors it’s far more straightforward … just my opinion…

I don't think Zoom "beats" anyone in UX, especially with the dark patterns. They're just popular. I've seen countless times hundreds of people unable to activate the "Computer Audio" option on company-wide meetings because it's in a secondary tab with zero-affordance. Recently they made it very hard to find the "gallery mode" icon (you have to hover a dark area). They also make it borderline impossible to open it on the browser, forcing multiple reloads or whatnot (the method it changes all the time). Honestly Jitsi, BBB and even Teams are all better IMO.

One of my pet-peeves with the zoom UX is that it always switches to full-screen mode if someone is sharing the screen. This is particularly annoying if you are also using the participant or chat windows (because there's voting or chat messages etc.) and if you are switching between different presenters (meaning it switches again and again to full screen). Why can't it respect my decision to not have a full-screen window?!

As someone who runs Zoom via the browser (they do deploy a dark pattern to discourage this behavior but there is no good reason to trust them) I find that Hangouts and Teams are both solid alternatives in terms of AV quality. Would be happy to see some actual data on this claim.

People prefer the interface they are used to. I personally find Zoom to be really frustrating from an interface angle but that is probably just familiarity. Of course Zoom could have avoided such issues had they been more conscious of ethics.

That dark pattern drives me crazy. I use Zoom on Linux and prefer to use it in browser and I still almost always miss the link after having done it several times.

That must be a very dark pattern. I didn't even know it was possible to run Zoom in a browser, and even now that I know I can't figure out how to do it. What's the secret?

You need to click download zoom on the meeting launch and give it a second, it will show a “having trouble?” message and let you open in a browser.

Wow, that is evil. Thanks!

I haven't tried it lately, but last time I tried it around a year ago, if you try to use the web client and the moderator hasn't shown up yet, you have to solve a Google ReCaptcha every couple of minutes while you're waiting, or it kicks you out.

I usually try to go with the charitable interpretation, but when the dark patterns start to stack up that high...

The web UI is severely limited compared to the desktop client which is why I suspect they do this (even though I disagree with it).

I've had some very confusing meetings because I worked at a company that required us to use web, but the presenter wasn't and what she was seeing didn't match us which led to some confusing scenarios. Things like the grid view weren't there last I used it and some of the more advanced presenter features just don't do anything for web iirc

Oooh, so that's why I've never ever seen the buttons for breakout rooms or to participate in votes? And there's nothing out there that says that's the reason. Any searches I did to find out why these things don't work for me were met with 'here's how to do it'

It can be enabled/disabled by your company's Zoom administrator.

Just replace the /j/ in the URL of the page with /wc/join/, and you should be in the zoom web client.

You can even prepare your links this way so you're there to begin with.

I don't really get the religion around the video platforms. I use three (Zoom, Google Meet, and Bluejeans) on a regular basis and they all seem simultaneously decent enough and imperfect on my network on a given day. Teams is fine too but I rarely use it.

From my experience in Latin America, Zoom tolerates network problems better. I've connected from or have had attendants using DSL, Cable, 3G, 4G (Not LTE) and call in phone audio.

yep I think alternatives have improved but pre covid i traveled all over the world for work and the big thing was Zoom worked the best on iffy connections and also played best with multiple companies IT systems

I really liked Bluejeans (I find its audio/video quality to be far superior to the alternates) but it really didn't do well over jittery/slow connections. Zoom swept in and through people's refusal to use anything but what they're familiar with it chased out Bluejeans and we got rid of it.

So much fiery passion about these random tools, haha

Perhaps I am jaded, but as of yet I have never used a browser-based video chat that worked well. Invariably connection issues arise which I have only rarely experienced with Zoom. My best explanation is that a native app has more to work with in terms of codecs and connection management than a browser can offer.

So to this end, that "dark" pattern is ultimately to a user's benefit and they are truly better off if they use the native app. If Zoom did not do this, they would pay the cost in terms of support and perceptions that the service is not reliable, in much the same way that Hangouts is unusable.

Having said that, you should be able to acknowledge that you do want to use the browser and don't want to see the pattern again.

This dark pattern may benefit some users, however there is a trade-off between video quality and data security. Different users have different preferences/needs between these two aspects of a video call service. Tricking people into selecting one option is rarely done out of concern for the interests of the end user. I would personally be much more convinced that I am benefiting from installing an app that has a history of data security issues if they gave a clear and up front explanation of why this benefits me.

FWIW, my work uses Google Meet running through Chrome and it gets the job done for remote collaboration. I would actually be curious to see some figures on the difference in performance between Browser and Desktop. I imagine that you can do a few tricks for compression and buffering on with a native app that would not be possible on a browser, but I haven't seen a big difference in terms of my ability to have a meeting.

Hangouts is all but dead, and Chat/Meet suck by comparison... at one point, I loved Hangouts, one comms app to rule them all, SMS, chat, video conf, messaging, even google voice... then it all fell apart.

Half the time, I can't join a meet with video, or the video works in the "test" window, but as soon as you join it's broken.

I'm mostly okay with Teems though.

Browser zoom drops my audio after several minutes making me disable and reenable audio to get a few more minutes of audio. Annoying when it happens mid sentence, but that's a price you have to pay for using Zoom.

> As someone who runs Zoom via the browser (they do deploy a dark pattern to discourage this behavior but there is no good reason to trust them) I find that Hangouts and Teams are both solid alternatives in terms of AV quality. Would be happy to see some actual data on this claim

Some anecdata, recently i had to switch from Teams to Zoom, with the same person, and the audio quality was drastically better on Zoom for both of us.

As someone how uses both Zoom and Google Hangouts, there is nothing Zoom offers that Google hangouts does not provide. The quality is the same for both, but at least Hangouts does not install a sketchy client on my machine that constantly runs in the background.

I'm sorry, but Hangouts is terrible. It sucks on every level. The UI is so bad it's hard to believe. I wish I could sit down with their product team to get an explanation for how badly Hangouts is designed. Takes about 10s to see all the problems with it compared to Zoom.

My 94 year old grandpa would constantly struggle with zoom, to the point that we'd schedule him 15 minutes early to avoid half the meeting being about zoom problems. Hangouts worked well for him first try. The auto captioning also works quite a bit better with hangouts, which is good for people with hearing loss.

I used to agree with you, until I discovered that (surprise, surprise) Hangouts works great on Chrome, not so much on other browsers.

Can you be more specific about the UI problems? It seems pretty equivalent to Zoom to me.

Two words: Gallery view.

Like what in the actual fuck. How are they unable to do a simple grid properly? It’s just rectangles. The UI is there to copy from Zoom even.

I don't think having the gallery view grid less gracefully handling non-even numbers of participants justifies saying "The UI is so bad it's hard to believe".

Google hangouts is garbage. I have never had a hangout call that didn’t freeze or have someone dropout. The audio on hangouts is beyond bad and makes people sound completely different than they do in person. The video quality is always grainy on my fiber connection. Zoom doesn’t have these problems for me.

I find it interesting that people have such different experiences with the same tool. I tend to have 2 or 3 hangouts meetings a day and I can't remember the last time there was an issue.

Likewise - we switched from Gotomeeting to Google Meet (which is the same as hangouts, right?) mostly because the experience for staff in Latin America was so much better.

That said, Gotomeeting is the worst of the bunch. They haven't added a useful feature in years, the CPU usage is terrible, their parasitic launcher is very difficult to get rid of, ugh... I'm surprised they're still around.

How are you okay with the audio compression? It makes everyone sound flat, monotone. It’s hard to tell who’s who if people have their cameras off.

Same issue here. If the link is too slow screen shares become grainy and text is hard to read.

While Zoom usually only slows the frame rate, but not the resolution.

While hangouts is a dumpster fire, Google Meet seems to work pretty well for those who aren't willing to jump through some self-hosted hurdles to run their own.

Hangouts has zoom-level annotation or 5k screen share where texts are crisp?

How often do you use those features, and how useful are they to all participants?

Everyday. Multiple times. How do you screen share and not use annotation?

I’ve yet to see someone use it, so clearly one of us is in a bubble.

Screen sharing on hangout (a year or so ago) has been terrible for me, especially for text dense screens like code. Pair programming on hangouts I can't even read the other person's code a lot of the time. Also hangout quality for video and audio drops really fast on relatively poor quality network. I've had a few cases where the quality on hangout was too poor so we switch over to zoom.

Appart from not having a linux client.

The client is a web browser. There are web browsers on Linux. I use hangouts in both Chrome and Firefox, and haven't had a problem with either of them.

you can disable said client on startup...

Jitsi Meet (https://meet.jit.si/)

Easy to self-host and probably less expensive to host than all the MS Office licenses used for MS Teams or paid Zoom licenses. I set up Jitsi Meet months ago and all I ever had to do was to add user accounts using prosody on the server (which should be improved imo). I've not needed to touch anything since first setup, except for user accounts. It just works. What's more is, that some solutions like MS Teams still is not able to properly work on all browsers. While Discord has solved this problem for ages and Jitsi Meet simply works in all modern browsers. I have a hunch, that with MS Teams there is active unwillingness to make it work properly. How else can this be explained?

> I have a hunch, that with MS Teams there is active unwillingness to make it work properly. How else can this be explained?

As the saying goes, never attribute to malice that which can adequately be explained by stupidity.

There's an update to that saying:

Never attribute to malice that which can adequately be explained by stupidity, unless it's Microsoft. Then it's definitely malice.

Yup. We use this for every meeting at my local hackerspace and it's been great.

Bonus: it tells you when connectivity issues are on your end or someone else's end, everyone's network stats are visible.

Used it once, host shared the screen, never seen anything what they have shared.

Webex is so shockingly bad. Zoom, Teams, Slack, all seem to work fairly well, all have clients (and can run in the browser)

Webex - which I have to use as part of a university course I'm doing on the side - requires you to run it in a browser on my OS, it has really awful options (like allowing the presenter to unmute people), half the claimed features just aren't available (virtual whiteboard, no major loss as everyone uses a shared google doc instead), and if you disconnect for some reason (like sound stops working which happens fairly frequently) you are kicked out of a group and you can't get back in.

Must be your specific webex/connection settings/version then, we have it in our massive banking corps (90k+employees worldwide) and none of the things you describe are an issue. We have adopted it some 7 years ago.

You don't need to run it in browser at all, there are desktop (and phone) clients for every major OS out there. This shows that you are really not familiar with it.

Now it is still a crappy system, but for different reasons than you describe. And other solutions have their own problems, as indicated by article and elsewhere.

The 1000 slightly different versions of Webex that are all bundeled under the same brand are its biggest drawback.

My university uses it as well, and the normal latest version of Webex is on par with Zoom. However for some courses the lecutrers use e.g. Webex Training which is barely usable garbage (but is the only version that has built-in quiz features).

My company uses webex since years and quizz is now built into the Webex Meetings app as they bought slido. I agree though that Webex Training, Webex Support, and some very old webex versions are just terrible.

> You don't need to run it in browser at all, there are desktop (and phone) clients for every major OS out there. This shows that you are really not familiar with it.

I don't care about anyone else's OS. I have desktop zoom, desktop slack, and desktop MS Teams, all work fine. Webex has web only (which means no whiteboard -- which I'm told from people who do have supported desktops -- mac users I think -- isn't good), no joining of private rooms, and the awful spyyware ability of remote people to turn on your microphone without your permission.

> there are desktop (and phone) clients for every major OS out there. This shows that you are really not familiar with

Now you sound as if you are not familiar with it. Looks like Webex added Linux(Deb & RHEL) on May 28, 2021. Before that, you had to use their legacy java applcation which also necessitated you to *manually* figure out, then hunt down & install the missing dependencies. And it was still shit.

why is running in a browser so bad? Lots of people actually WANT this feature, as they do not want to install native apps.

Because it isn't fully featured - it lacks the majority of features of the native client

>Offer a comparable alternative, then.

Maybe I am not doing a lot of meetings compared to others but I really haven't had more or less problems with Teams, Google products, or GoToMeeting (haven't used webex in a long time) ... compared to Zoom.

It's all a wash for me among those experience wise.

I constantly have various orgs tell me all about how they only use X video conferencing app because of Y experience. Most of those stories conflict ;)

I'm in meetings typically 2+ hours a day. I'm on a decent but not great Internet connection. My experience is they all mostly work but none are guaranteed to have a video/audio glitch free call.

Same. I think a lot of people's experience with them is just happenstance.

I have to do many online meetings, with attendants from developing countries (like mine) or unstable links. From our experience it seemsthat Zoom tolerates our unstable internet links better. I guess it has better error correction.

There's also the annotate feature is super useful, which is missing in Teams and Webex. And also offers dial-in phone numbers in more countries then the rest.

Zoom's audio design is nicer too, compared to Webex has some very annoying beeps that are a pain in large meetings.

Regarding Teams, I have a computer with plenty of RAM, SSD disks and a high end work provided smartphone. Teams is super slow in both of them. I haven't been able to use the Exe version for weeks now because it's too slow. There is also no way to quote a chat using the Windows and Web version, so in order to quote chats I have to do it from my phone.

Every once in a while I have buggy Teams or Webex meeting, that ends with a "Hey you know, I'll just send you a Zoom link".

It's not their job to name alternatives, it's their job if a tool complies to the laws.

Technically yes, but practically, if someone can't get their job done without breaking rules, they're going to break the rules. If your goal is actual compliance with rules, giving people a way to comply is much more effective.

Tell that the software companies. You can't demand to change the maw just because software companies want to illegaly collect data from their users. Why are people always complaining about data protection officers but not the shitty software companies. They have the tracking and the bugs which endanger their users and most of the time they won't even get punished.

100% agree. Data privacy _is_ doable. Yes, it's added complexity, but software companies make it out to be much worse than what it actually is — and people believe them. These large software companies just don't want the inherent risk associated with saying "I comply with data privacy law XYZ" – because if they actually don't because they missed something, they will be sued for a lot of money. It's just about money, nothing new.

Although I mainly use zoom for work, I've also used Google Meet occasionally and have found the quality to be on par with Zoom.

I notice you mentioned Google Hangouts instead of Google Meet, I'm not sure if they are the same now (too hard to keep track of these) but a brief google search seems to suggest they are not the same. If so, my past experience with Google Hangouts with friends would suggest it is indeed terrible. If so, you could give Google Meet a try.

I think Teams has every bug known to computers. Though, I've found GotoMeeting to work extremely well, and WebEx has been very decent but much better than Teams.

Teams manages to reboot Macintosh M1 machines after a few minutes in a call.

Given my experience as a sad participant in Teams meetings, I'll go on a limb and say Teams is probably running an electron shell implemented in x86 code calling a 64bit shim layer inside an ARM hosted VM.

I'm not surprised. It can runs super slow on my computer with plenty of RAM and lots of CPU.

I believe that the government in Hamburg and the Bundeswehr are implementing(or has already) element and matrix.


The latter organisation is not necessarily a benchmark in IT, or organisation in general.

name one army which is. (Bundeswher is the german army)

When my company first started using Zoom, people were fumbling the controls constantly. In fact, people still do ("Can you see my screen?"), and no one knows what "Optimize for video clip" even means.

I don't think those other platforms are inherently worse, we're just slightly more familiar with Zoom.

I very much agree with this.

Zoom may be terrible from a security point of view; I dislike the fact that I may well have installed spyware on my machines; and I have absolutely no idea why in the nine hells the Android version complains that my phone is rooted (it should exist in a chroot!) but --- despite all of that --- it works.

Teams, in particular comparison, is like DIY dentistry with kitchen implements as surgical tools. It lags; it doesn't have a native client on any devices and turns them all into heaters; its codecs are nowhere near as good, and it can't display as many people on screen at one point in time -- and there's no private chat. I understand on one level why most organisations seem to want to force their staff to use Teams – it's "free" (if you already pay the microsoft tax) and comes with the corporation (±NSA) being the spying overlord, rather than "E2EE" (+China). However, I completely also understand why most users prefer Zoom. Frankly, I do too!

Dang, Webex is still that bad for you? Is it because you're using company's instances where it's more locked down and they're on older code?

I know it's not perfect, but it's pretty reliable for me (and full disclosure, I work for a different subsidiary of Cisco - but I also try to be pretty critical of it since I'm close to it)

I don't use Zoom a ton, but I've experienced what feels like a similar amount of sluggishness and AV issues as I have on Webex. At this point I know I'm a bit too close to have a useful anecdote, I'm just surprised that Webex is still put in the same group as Teams / Hangouts / GTM.

Again, not trying to sway you, just understand a bit better.

I found Webex to be quite a lot worse than Zoom in my limited experience. I attended a few IEEE presentations hosted on the platform. Audio didn't connect smoothly and needed a few restarts. The talk was constantly interrupted by a chiming noise whenever a person joined or left the meeting. I remember finding a configuration setting for this but the hosts didn't see my message (another bad feature), as this was a meeting-wide setting rather than a client one. Even if it were configurable per-user, that chime turned on is an unexpected and intrusive default setting.

Beyond that, I couldn't see the presented content in full-screen. There was a lot of junk in the form of perpetual UI elements for the "fullscreen mode".

These seemed like pretty fundamental misses for the platform to make.

I attended a webex earlier this year and I found the experience was far better than Zoom. The audio and video quality was better, and also the presentation controls were much more sophisticated.

this entry beep is a typical example of security vs. usability. The entry beep is meant for everyone to know if someone joined, even if they have joined using a phone only. It is also configurable. I think it was a huge mistake from cisco to make it a default though, the security benefit is too small. In the latest version is is now automatically disabled after 25 participants I believe, so they heard the feedback (took their time though).

Yeah, it's amazing to me the hate people have for Zoom.

I feel about Zoom like Garp felt about the plane that hit the house he was looking at buying. When the real estate agent said he wouldn't want to buy it now, he said The odds of another plane hitting this house are astronomical! and bought the house. I think it's unlikely Zoom will jeopardize their leadership by not taking security and privacy seriously.

two wrong assumptions:

* not taking security seriously can jeopardize their leadership (they're the de facto standard and no one cares about security as seen in these comments)

* Zoom is already taking security seriously - I seriously doubt it with all development being in China.

I hate Teams because of other issues[0], but the video and screen sharing are really good.

[0] It will occasionally leave artifacts on the screen if I put my laptop to sleep and wake it up. Just an empty rectangle in the notification area. I had to write a powershell script to cycle teams. And that's just one of the annoyances.

I never have issues with Hangouts. I think Zoom is a slightly better experience, but just making a Calendar invite in Google Calendar, and it automatically having the Hangout meeting is pretty nice.

[Edit] Google Meet

I use whereby and it’s always been without issue. They used to have a very good privacy policy too, but since they updated it I can’t make sense out of it

I've been a heavy user of GoToMeeting for over a decade. It works very, very well for us, and our use case is entirely multi-org meetings.

If someone has shitty home internet (a COVID-era problem), then they should probably dial in separately and not use the meeting audio, but that's going to hurt you no matter what meeting tool you use.

Have not experienced this myself, but it could be due to poor network connectivity.

What i find annoying about Teams, is the ability to use 100% CPU and 90% of the integrated graphics on a laptop.

Thankfully disabling GPU hardware acceleration have helped quite a lot.

Do you ask for a comparable alternative when a road gets closed or slowed down? Or when a particular, well working, herbicide gets banned? Or when carrying guns openly gets banned? Did you ask for a comparable alternative to leaded fuel?

Tandem is still new and has bugs but it’s never been a meeting killer. It doesn’t really have a guest access feature yet, though (at least to my knowledge).

Hangouts would surely have the same problem since I doubt Google can rule out the possibility that your video streams are being relayed through frontend servers outside the EU. The only way you could really control it is to use the old school approach to video conferencing: legacy standards like SIP or h.323 with all of the usability problems that implies, or WebRTC with your own STUN/TURN services ... and all of the usability problems that implies.

- "You can't marry your sibling."

- "Offer a comparable alternative then"

See the problem with this approach?

Other big services sometimes solve this problem by creating a data center in EU for European customers (DataDog, 1password, etc.). I don’t know how feasible could that be in Zoom’s case technically, but if they see a threat of losing customers because of GDPR they might dedicate such resources.

I've seen this argument used many times against GDPR regulations.

Who are obligated to provide an alternative? And why?

It's not like the police is obligated to give drug abusers something in return for the drugs that they are confiscating.

I feel like I live in a bizzaro world...

First, I’ve been working remotely over skype, audio-only, for over a decade. Yet in 2020 and with the emergence of zoom, it’s suddenly become an expectation that everyone is incessantly and awkwardly staring at each other through screens for the whole workday.

Second, the few times I’ve used Zoom it’s been absolutely garbage, with video and sound dropping or just not there (this was a university paying for Zoom’s services).

Yet I use teams everyday, and while I have plenty of complaints about it, at least I can get the sound and (screen-sharing) video that I actually need for my work.

I don't know - my company/team (except for one or two instances of introductions) never expect us to turn on video. Some people do; other don't; just do your thing. Turning on the video is especially hard on women. From what I have heard from friends they have to get ready and put on makeup as if they're going to work simply because they're expected to be on zoom video all day long.

That's far from universal expectation. I use the camera almost exclusively in primarily social calls (and sometimes one-on-one calls). Even when talking to customers its rare.

Are you using an old version? Skype was good once but has gotten buggier and more bloated with each new release.

> Second, the few times I’ve used Zoom it’s been absolutely garbage, with video and sound dropping or just not there (this was a university paying for Zoom’s services).

Yeah that absolutely sounds like bizzaro world. Zoom somehow works a lot better than anything else, IME. (I wish it didn't, there are many things I don't like about it)

I don’t really use skype anymore, but I never had that many issues with it even if I updated..

But yeah, I fully accept that other people have generally found Zoom to be better than the alternatives. Friends that teach (university in this case) says it’s been a godsend.

Talking not as a security researcher but as someone who has to work with large corporate IT departments none of the alternatives proposed in this thread will fly.

With corporate IT, it's either MS Teams because it's installed "by default" on enterprise workstations and managed at the O365 level, or Zoom or Cisco WebEx, all managed centrally by IT.

In our experience with these services, Zoom has been more reliable, and the quality of service for video and audio has been generally better than the rest, specially Teams. At the end of the day, this is all that our enterprise users care about.

When running calls across organisations, it invariably ends up as a zoom meeting since Teams is flaky for someone, or WebEx doesn't allow someone to share their desktop.

Another significant but underrated factor is the non-tech and non-enterprise market. Friends and family in their seventies and eighties default to zoom for their weekly or monthly catch-up sessions and get-togethers because "it just works". My neighbour who's in her late seventies is an editor for a small news magazine for the community, and zoom is her choice to collaborate with others on their articles.

People don't want to bother with security until there's a massive breach somewhere, or it affects their business, or it's mandated by legislation or certification requirements.

Anybody else prefer Google meet over zoom lately? I feel like it's a cleaner layout.

Also depending on the type of calls you have Google Meet can be a lot more usable.

Zoom seems to come from the Seminar/Presentation mindset. By default no one can join until the host does, only the host can share their screen and no one except the host can mute other participants. Most of the default ACLs can be relaxed if the organizer changes their default meeting settings but most people won't.

Google Meet seems to assume some level of trust between the participants which matches my use case much more. So by default anyone can share their screen when they need too and if someone forgets to mute themselves when they take a call someone else can help them out (I have seen a Zoom meeting that had to be abandoned because someone took a call thinking they were on mute.)

I'm not saying that the Zoom defaults are "wrong". In fact they are the safer defaults. But for my most common use case of a meeting between people in the same company the Meet defaults work much better. (Although it is nice when a meeting gets "canceled" because the organizer is out sick and no one can join /s)

No. I often have connection issues and it's Google so I don't feel secure. I suggest and prefer Jitsi. Or Jami.

I'll give it another shot, but every time I do I'm not impressed.

I'd love to use Google Meet and save some money but the audio and video quality looks like a cheap trick compared to Zoom. My users complain endlessly about this. We discovered Zoom a few years back because we were desperate to get away from Hangouts.

I expect their client does a lot of work around clearing up audio and similar whereas you'd need to do that on the server-side (and accept the lag) for Google Meet unless you can use WebAsm to clean up the audio stream possibly. I don't know if developers have that access.

I guess Google could solve this but it would require some considerable resources. I think this is one of those situations where video calls are a hobby for Google but they're the entire business for Zoom.

For people from the EU that hate techcrunch due to its cookie banner spam fatigue - here's the source:


(Note that DPA means Deutsche Presse Agentur in German, so we don't use that term over here)

Wait, governments are still using zoom? WTF?

I don’t know what rock you are living under but everyone uses Zoom. Even Cisco sales reps use it for sales meetings and they own WebEx.

> everyone uses Zoom

Well, my org uses Teams and I don't know anyone who uses Zoom professionally.

My son's university has been holding tons of virtual sessions for incoming first-year students and their parents. Every one has been on Zoom.

In my experience, Zoom is the standard when you are dealing with the public at large. Teams/Hangouts/WebEx, etc are the go to options when dealing with an internal organization where all of the users are "known" ahead of time.

At my university the computer science + electrical engineering student councils protested so persistently that the university gave in and banned zoom across operations. I guess not every university was so lucky?

For a time in 2020, Zoom for whatever reason had a significant boom of popularity (I suppose they had some freemium option for group calls? I really don't know).

As a result, a lot of companies bought licenses because Zoom was the cool tech at the time. My company did this, despite there being an official mandate that all official communication/calls must go through Teams the year prior†.

I think the persistence of Zoom is just whatever the tech equivalent of a hangover is. Everyone binged on Zoom in 2020, and now that we're far more comfortable with work from home and have more stable setups, a lot of places are stuck with Zoom licenses. Embarrassingly, our company's periodic all-hand-calls still are on Zoom when every other operation is done on Teams. I think our brand team also decided to host a few presentations on Zoom when we presented in the US for the sole reason of "well, it's cool."

† I have no love for Teams to be clear, it's awful software. I do understand IT's mandate though, since the entire point of the mandate was to get people to stop installing random stuff on their work computers, which turned out to be a great idea when it comes to Zoom.

I have a couple of (honestly not very tech savvy) clients who adopted Zoom at the beginning of the COVID era, and who are absolutely swallowing whatever lies Zoom is telling about security and encryption and whatnot.

Zoom has the absolutely BALLS to sell a product called "ZoomGov" they say is more secure or whatever, but who wants to bet it's the same code running on different servers? They're also claiming HIPAA compliance, which I'm also certain is a complete lie.

They don't care. They'll say literally anything, and pay whatever fines happen if they get caught.

Teams comes from free with Office 365.

I think last year someone from the accounting department suggested cancelling Zoom because we had meetings already included in Teams.

It caused quite a commotion from the Zoom users a few minutes after we learnt about it. The plan was promptly cancelled.

Well that must mean nobody uses it then. Huh.

Not surprised. Among the various solutions discussed in this thread, WebEx is the worst. Hangouts, Zoom, and Teams are way ahead.

Sounds famliar! I remember attempting to do a meeting with a company that resellls Webex. The meeting was not Webex related but related to another product they sell. We ended up switching to Zoom because Webex wasn't working.

I have never seen it in a professional setting and I sadly have too many meetings. In my corporate world at least it is almost always teams and people don't want to use zoom. Sales might be different though.

Don’t know many people who use Zoom except one of our software vendors.

Yup, just had some meetings with my city's local government as well as local nonprofits over Zoom. Concerning from a security standpoint.

Yes, there is version of zoom specifically for government. https://www.zoomgov.com/

Maybe I am missing the point but what is the problem here? is there some major security flaw in zoom?

Zoom has had several major security flaws [0]. (Arbitrary execution, installers with malware in them, and so on.)

Executives charged with coordinating attacks against citizens outside China, on behalf of the PRC. [1]

They recently settled a class action for lying about having E2E encryption. [2]

[0] https://www.cvedetails.com/vulnerability-list.php?vendor_id=...

[1] https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/china-based-executive-us-tele...

[2] https://www.bbc.com/news/business-58050391

Zoom is not end to end encrypted at all, and they can see every video stream. Also their clients had vulnerabilities in the past.

false. if you configure zoom correctly, it is infact encrypted.

For one thing, zoom does have E2EE (https://www.wired.com/story/how-to-enable-zoom-encryption/) and secondly - if we're talking about public meetings (like city council meetings) why would it matter?

E2EE means just about nothing without open source clients.

Well, for one, this happened: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25474372

"This" being "Zoom executive charged with disrupting meetings commemorating Tiananmen Square".

What should they use instead, some half assed open source solution subcontracted to the usual cronies of the consulting business?

Anything else, even something proprietary.

Where do you live where that is common?

Zoom is an incredibly creepy company. I completely loathe that my company forces us to use it.

It would be nice if Teams weren't yet another Electron disaster.

And instead of improving their code so Teams is fast as VS Code, they delegated it to the Edge team to write a new version of Electron called WebView2.

Teams' codebase is apparently so bad that it's not fixable and they need to rely on others to rewrite the runtime for them.

For good measure it also subscribes to the media keys on the keyboard. To mute your microphone you might think, but no, to play the dial tone twice when pressing play/pause for your music! Very useful, thank you Microsoft.

WebView2 is the MS Edge browser technology that can be instanced as a browser control in your application. [1]

It is not electron.

[1] https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-edge/webview2/

Since it's unreleased they might name it differently when releasing but I don't think they will make it open source. Microsoft will most likely use it for themselves.

WebView2 has been out for ages, it released with the new edge browser. You can launch what you like in it from your own application.

Slightly tangential - I went to install Keybase on a new Debian build last night, and discovered the installation process is broken, evidently has been for some time, and upstream (on github) seems abandoned.

Keybase, once a popular favourite on HN, lost a lot of street cred when Zoom bought them out in early 2020.

Zoom and Keybase at the time insisted this was all very good news as it showed Zoom was deeply committed to improving their security posture.

Apparently, not so much.

So this is different than all the other Zoom is insecure things. This is related to Zoom sending data to a “hostile” state (the US) which cannot guarantee GDPR compliance and there is no waiver to allow transmission of protected data to The US.

who doesn't send data to US? (google, apple, facebook?)

In addition, Zoom developement is largely based in China which has an even less stellar record and definitely does not respect GDPR.

After READING the article, it is about "U.S. surveillance law to be incompatible with EU privacy rights."

whereby.com works great for me


Economic competition has now become who can control state government.

I use Zoom for the simple reason that it provides end to end encryption and can seamlessly support large (50+) team meetings.

Other than WebEx, which is more cost-prohibitive and has a clunkier UI/UX to boot, I believe there are no other video conferencing apps that can provide the service I'm looking for (which is 1. E2EE, and 2. support for 50+ attendees).

_Is_ there anything else that can provide this, besides Zoom or WebEx?

> it provides end to end encryption

(After lying about it for years)


Theranos-level of “fake it til you make it” and they actually did make it…

> (After lying about it for years)

Correct. But currently, as far as is known, they actually do provide it. Which, practically, is what matters because other than WebEx there are no comparable alternatives that I'm aware of.

Jitsi is discussed in the comment below yours in this sub-thread.

I have extensively tested Jitsi and it does not do what I need it to do (support E2EE video conferencing for teams larger than 50 people).

People recommend Jitsi all the time, but I have yet to see any real-world cases of people actually using E2EE Jitsi meetings for large teams.



Plus you can self-host it. So you're only limited by the machine you host it on.

I've stress tested Jitsi's E2EE (both on the official server and on a self-hosted instance, with was a PITA to setup, by the way) and....it does not scale. After more than 20 clients joined, there were noticeable problems that made the meeting impossible to conduct (audio drop outs, frozen video, disparate lag times, etc), both on a self-hosted instance that had more than enough bandwidth/hardware kit to handle it (the same self-hosted setup is also used to host Zoom, which runs perfectly), and on their main server.

I would like to hear real-world examples of people successfully conducting large-scale E2EE meetings over Jitsi. What setup did you use?

E2EE is meaningless with a closed client downloaded by individuals from the service provider.

If the option is "not use any closed-source E2EE video conferencing platform because of ideological purity" or "conferencing platform which promises E2EE and has SLAs and legal contracts backing these claims with the client", for practical purposes the latter wins.


Telegram does not support E2EE for group chats.

It's also not a video conferencing platform.

> It's also not a video conferencing platform.

Yes, it is: https://telegram.org/blog/group-video-calls.

The parent post said no E2EE for group chat. Telegram doesn't seem to support that according to the linked page. Telegram group video chat only allows up to 30 people for the time being, which is far too limited. Also, group chat is not the same as "conferencing platform".

If an app which supports groups video calls counts as a "video conferencing platform" in your book, then you're better off using either Facetime or Signal, both of which support E2EE, unlike Telegram.

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