Cisco’s Webex videoconferencing software now lets you set virtual backgrounds

As it tries to catch up with the popular features offered by some of its younger competitors, Cisco’s Webex has unveiled virtual backgrounds for its videoconferences. Users can either apply a “blur” effect to mask their background or replace with one of Webex’s preset background images.

Zoom, the most popular videoconferencing app of the moment, and rivals Google Meet and Microsoft Teams all allow users to upload their own custom images for background displays.

Webex is one of the oldest players in the videoconferencing space. It was founded in 1995 and acquired by Cisco in 2007 for $3.2 billion. It’s primarily used as a business application and has a focus on companies, rather than personal customers, but has increased the features available on its freemium version during the current surge in demand for remote meetings.

In recent weeks, Google and Microsoft have started to catch up to Zoom; Microsoft has grown its Teams app to 75 million daily active users, the company said in April. And Google said Meet recently surpassed 100 million daily meeting participants.

Like its rivals, Webex has seen a sharp increase in usage during the coronavirus pandemic with more people working and schooling at home. The company said in April it tripled its average number of meeting minutes to 25 billion.

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