“Zoom” Is a New Verb
by Betsy Burton
In light of people working, learning, playing, and gathering remotely, video conferencing is becoming the new way for people to communicate and collaborate. As a result, I am starting to hear people use “zoom” as a verb and as a generic term for web and video conferencing.
In this blog, we explore the impact this will have on the web and video conferencing market in the long-term.
Zoom Is on People’s Lips
I recently heard a former colleague say, “I’ll zoom you.” In this case, we were using the Zoom online meeting service; however, this was the first time I had heard someone use “zoom” as a verb. This usage is similar to the way people use “google” as a verb to reference internet searching, such as “go google the height of Everest.”
I recently heard a news reporter reference a “zoom court session.” In this case, it is highly unlikely the court was actually using the Zoom service. However, the lexicon the reporter had adopted was to use “zoom” as a generalized term for web and video conferencing.
The Power of Brand
We have seen numerous cases where this occurs over time. Think of “Scotch Tape,” “Chapstick,” “Kleenex,” or “Band-Aid.” These are just a few cases where a specific product name has become the common name for an entire category of products.
We recently wrote that Microsoft and Cisco missed a significant opportunity as businesses, families, communities, and governments shifted very quickly to web and video conferencing. And, even though Google recently announced that it is enabling people to use the Google video meeting tool, Meet, for free until September, this transition has left Google as well as other leading vendors exposed.
Zoom Video Conferencing Versus Meet
Interestingly, while Zoom has a higher daily user count (300 million participants), Google G Suite has close to 15 times more users than Zoom does. However, the primary G Suite use case is email, not meetings.
But most interestingly, Google missed out on a branding opportunity for its web and video conferencing services that it dominated so well in search with the word “google.” Think about it… What word are people going to gravitate more towards, and is it unique enough to become its own verb/product category? Zoom (Zoom), Meet (Google), Teams (Microsoft), or Webex (Cisco)?
It is still a bit early, and this use of “zoom” as a verb or product category is just becoming established in people’s minds and in language. However, regardless of security issues, established market positions, and user base, Zoom is winning a significant branding battle.
The battle for dominance and market share in the web and video conferencing market is not over. And the dominant workplace and collaboration vendors (Microsoft, Cisco, Google, etc.) will continue to have a strong market position and established customer base. However, much like search, tape, lip balm, and tissue, they will likely have to navigate the term “zoom” as an emerging verb and generic term for web and video conferencing.