Zoom Wants to Take Your Notes for You

If you hate taking notes during Zoom calls, the company may be working on something to make it easier.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.

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Zoom wants to write down only the stuff you need to know. 

The company is seeking to patent a system for “dynamic note generation” in a video call. The system isn’t terribly complicated, but it allows a user to take notes on specific parts of meetings that are relevant to them. 

“This process of note-taking during a communication session is often neither easy nor streamlined,” Zoom said in its filing. “Just a few seconds of … distraction can be costly when a student needs to absorb every moment of a lecture.” 

Zoom details a few functions that this note-taking system has in store. For one, it will allow a user to capture “previous snippets” of a meeting’s content once a user clicks on a “UI element” that reads “Take a Note,” essentially enabling the user to access content they may have missed. For example, if a PowerPoint slide goes by too fast to take notes, this system would allow a user to capture that. 

Along with saving clips from a meeting, a user can request that a note be generated for a specific clip. Users also can modify which clips they want notes for after the fact, annotate the generated notes, and slot notes into different categories, such as “observation,” “reference” or “action item.” 

Zoom also said this feature could only be available to users depending on their “access levels,” meaning whether or not they have a premium-tier business account versus a free-tier user account. The company also noted that a machine learning model would be employed to automatically identify and flag problematic, illegal or inappropriate content. 

Photo via the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

While Zoom didn’t explicitly say this tech was backed by AI in its patent, using machine learning for a feature like this would be par for the course. The company already offers a meeting summary tool through Zoom IQ, its AI companion service. This tool gives a general summary at the end of the meeting, taking note of action items and sending it to authenticated people on the call, and the tech in this patent could hint at expanded functions to come. 

One thing to consider: Zoom already offers several AI-based note-taking tools through its app and integration marketplace. Expanding on these tools could allow the company to corner the market by keeping them within its ecosystem.  

Like other big tech companies, Zoom has turned up the heat on its AI work. Since Zoom IQ was introduced in March, the company also invested an undisclosed sum in AI startup Anthropic in May, and announced plans to integrate the startup’s chatbot across its platform. The company also announced a feature called Intelligent Director, which aims to use AI for better video quality in hybrid meetings, in late June. Plus, Zoom filed a patent application for improved AI training systems, giving a peek at how AI development is going within the company. 

However, if you’ve seen the words “Zoom” and “AI” in headlines in recent weeks, the stories weren’t positive: The company got into major hot water from users and privacy advocates for an update to its terms of service that said it would use customer data for AI training. The company has since reversed this decision, with CEO Eric Yuan saying in a LinkedIn post “we had a process failure internally that we will fix.” 

“We are committing to all of our customers that we will not use any of their audio, video, chat, screen sharing, attachments and other communications like poll results, whiteboard and reactions to train our AI models or third-party AI models,” Yuan said in the post. 

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