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Zoom adds Choose Your Own Routing Adventure to keep chats out of China

As Microsoft gives Teams a Brady Bunch upgrade

Zoom’s security catch-up sprint has seen it announce its users will soon be able to choose where their traffic goes.

The new feature will help users in places like Taiwan, where the government banned Zoom after learning traffic could go through its frenemies in Beijing.

Zoom’s not nodded to that kind of geopolitics. Instead its announcement spins the feature as a latency-buster, saying: “Beginning April 18, every paid Zoom customer can opt in or out of a specific data center region. This will determine the meeting servers and Zoom connectors that can be used to connect to Zoom meetings or webinars you are hosting and ensure the best-quality service.”

Someone holding a padlock next to the Zoom phone app

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The change means that administrators of paid Zoom users can opt in or out of traffic passing through the videoconferencing company’s data centres in United States, Canada, Europe, India, Australia, China, Latin America, and Japan/Hong Kong.

Free users will be locked to their nearest data centre and never, ever, routed through China.

Chinese users get a job too. Zoom wrote: “For users based in China, if your account admin has not opted into the China data center by April 25, your account will not be able to connect to our mainland China data center for data transit.”

Microsoft, meanwhile, has news for Teams users in the form of a full Brady Bunch upgrade that increases the number of video conference participants that can be seen on-screen from four to nine. The update will start to appear from the end of April and Microsoft has promised to go beyond nine feeds soon, partly in response to demand from suddenly-remote schools that want to get closer to a classroom experience. ®

Bootnote: If the Brady Bunch reference escapes you, behold the opening credits for the seminal sitcom below.

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