Zoom, the video conferencing platform that has become a household name in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been a game-changer in the way we communicate. One of its most popular features is the ability to use virtual backgrounds, allowing users to mask their real surroundings with an image or video of their choice. But when did Zoom add this innovative feature? Let’s delve into the history of Zoom’s virtual backgrounds and explore how they have transformed our virtual interactions.

The Emergence of Zoom

Zoom Video Communications was founded by Eric Yuan in 2011, with the platform officially launched in 2013. Initially, Zoom was primarily used by businesses for video conferencing. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced people worldwide to work and study from home, Zoom’s popularity skyrocketed. It quickly became a go-to tool for not just professional meetings, but also virtual hangouts, online classes, and even virtual weddings.

Introduction of Virtual Backgrounds

Zoom introduced the virtual background feature in 2016, three years after its official launch. This feature was initially designed to help business professionals maintain a professional image during video conferences, regardless of their physical location. However, as Zoom’s user base expanded, so did the use of virtual backgrounds.

How Virtual Backgrounds Work

Zoom’s virtual background feature uses a process called chroma keying, which is commonly used in film and TV production. This process involves replacing a particular color (in this case, the background) in an image with a different image or video. Zoom’s software automatically detects and replaces the background, allowing users to appear as if they are in a different location.

The Impact of Virtual Backgrounds

The introduction of virtual backgrounds has had a significant impact on how we use video conferencing platforms. For professionals, it has provided a way to maintain a professional image, even when working from home. For others, it has offered a fun way to express their personality or mood, with many users choosing to use humorous or creative images as their backgrounds.

Since the introduction of this feature, a wide variety of virtual backgrounds have become popular among Zoom users. These range from professional office settings to famous landmarks, outer space, and even scenes from popular movies and TV shows. Some companies have also created branded virtual backgrounds for their employees to use during meetings.

Future of Virtual Backgrounds

As video conferencing continues to play a crucial role in our lives, it’s likely that virtual backgrounds will continue to evolve. Zoom has already added the ability to use video clips as virtual backgrounds, and it’s possible that we’ll see even more innovative uses for this feature in the future.

In conclusion, Zoom added the virtual background feature in 2016, and it has since become a defining feature of the platform. Whether used for maintaining professionalism, expressing creativity, or simply adding a bit of fun to a meeting, virtual backgrounds have transformed the way we communicate in the virtual world. As we continue to rely on video conferencing for our communication needs, we can expect to see even more innovative and creative uses for this feature.


Alex likes to write about anything related to technology, marketing and gadgets. He sometimes reviews the latest tech and also writes on other blogs.