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Google Bans Zoom's Desktop Client From Running on Employee Computers

The search-engine giants claims the product doesn't meet the company's security standards on third-party apps.

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This story originally appeared on PCMag

Google is joining the growing number of organizations who’ve decided to stop using Zoom due to the security concerns with the video-conferencing service. 

Olivier Douliery | Getty Images

The new restriction was emailed out to Google employees who have the Zoom desktop client installed on their corporate laptops, according to BuzzFeed, which was first to report the news. Google’s IT staff has now disabled the product from functioning on the same computers. 

“We have long had a policy of not allowing employees to use unapproved apps for work that are outside of our corporate network,” Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda told PCMag. “Recently, our security team informed employees using Zoom Desktop Client that it will no longer run on corporate computers as it does not meet our security standards for apps used by our employees.”

Related: 6 Tricks You Need to Know About Zoom

The company didn’t mention the specific problems. But in recent days, security researchers have uncovered a number of vulnerabilities and questionable practices in Zoom’s video-conferencing service, which can expose users to hacking and potential spying from China. (Per its privacy policy, however, Zoom doesn't store or monitor your video sessions.) 

At the same time, the app has become the target of online trolls and racists, who’ve been infiltrating Zoom sessions to embarrass and harass unsuspecting users. 

Google says employees can still use Zoom to talk to friends or family, but they’ll have to do so "through a web browser or via mobile," according to Castaneda.

Not everyone may buy Google’s justification for the restriction. That’s because the company runs its own competing video- conferencing service, Google Hangout Meets, which competes with Zoom. Just yesterday, Google published a blog post touting the anti-hijacking features in the software. 

Still, the security concerns and ensuing bad press around Zoom have prompted New York City schools, the Taiwanese government and reportedly a German foreign ministry to stop using the video-conferencing service.  

Related: Eric Yuan Explains His 6 Simple Tactics for Building Zoom Into a $20 Billion Business

However, Zoom’s CEO says he’s committed to addressing the problems. The company is pausing development on new features to focus on improving trust, security and privacy over Zoom’s software. On Wednesday, the company also announced it was recruiting the former chief security officer at Facebook, Alex Stamos, to act as an outside advisor. 

For users, the company today added a new “Security” button on the meetings controls to make it easier to prevent unwanted guests from infiltrating and disrupting your video sessions. 

Michael Kan

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Michael has been a PCMag reporter since October 2017. He previously covered tech news in China from 2010 to 2015, before moving to San Francisco to write about cybersecurity.