Major Zoom + GCal sync problems / recent behavior change?

Hi there – our SaaS service integrates with the Zoom API to create Zoom meetings automatically on behalf of our joint customers. One of our features requires the creation of Zoom meeting, which we then put on a series of individual Google Calendar events that our product schedules. To do this, we use the “recurring no fixed time” type (type 3) and then place the same URL in the location + description fields of multiple events.

This has worked well for us for a long time, but recently we’ve been getting reports of this breaking badly for our customers. Upon investigation, what we’ve found is that Zoom appears to have recently started to keep Zoom meetings + Google Calendar events “in sync” even when the “Automatically sync Zoom calendar events information bi-directionally between Zoom and integrated calendars” setting is disabled.

From what I can tell, this is new functionality that activates once users have connected their calendar to use the recently launched Email + Calendar beta functionality.

What I’m observing is that Zoom is now working very hard to find and identify any Google Calendar event that links to a Zoom meeting, and then it will update the Zoom meeting to match what is in the Google Calendar event. In our case, it is changing the type from “recurring no fixed time” (type 3) to “scheduled meeting” (type 2), which badly breaks things for us because we have many events that are suddenly linked to Zoom meetings that are no longer valid / joinable.

Even worse, this behavior depends on if our joint customers have enabled certain settings or tried out the new calendar feature. Worse still, even when they disable the calendar + email feature, the sync behavior continues unless you revoke Zoom’s access to Google Calendar entirely. And worst of all, we’re finding that our system and Zoom’s can now get in “loops” trying to “fix” the issue, draining the customer’s 100 event quota for the day.

In short: it’s a terrible customer experience for our joint customer.

Because the behavior isn’t consistent for all Zoom users, it’s also difficult for us to work around this issue.
Our best path, for now, is to hide the Zoom URLs behind a redirect, which Zoom’s sync logic doesn’t seem to follow. But this seems like a poor workaround that could break at any moment, and it also breaks other workflows, such as calendar apps (including Zoom’s own) that provide convenient “join now” buttons for known video conferencing domains.

I am hoping that Zoom is open to working with us on a better path forward.

Specifically, it would be really great if there were a way to very clearly communicate to Zoom that someone else (our service in this case) is responsible for keeping the Zoom meeting + the calendar event in sync and Zoom should not modify things. This could be accomplished by Zoom looking for a specific key/value pair in the Google event’s extended metadata. Alternatively, if the Zoom API allowed me to indicate that I don’t want Zoom to apply any sync logic to it, I could use that when creating Zoom meetings.

Please let me know if you have any questions. I hope this information all makes sense. Thank you, and happy New Year!

Patrick

Hey Patrick,

Thanks for providing detailed information on the issue you’re seeing. I’m working to get confirmation on this change and see if we can rollback or change this behavior.

I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Thanks,
Max

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If helpful, I can record a quick Loom demonstrating the behavior without our service involved at all, but highlighting the way Zoom is changing the Zoom meeting type unexpectedly. LMK if it’d be useful.

Hi - any update on this? We rolled out a workaround by hiding the Zoom URLs via a redirect, but as predicated, customers are now hitting the problem of that redirect breaking their other calendar apps and workflows.

Sorry for the delay here, if you’re able to provide a loom that should help me to demonstrate the issue to our engineering team.

I’m still working to get details on any changes on our end.

Hi - just checking back in here. Did the video help clarify things a bit more?

Thank you for providing that video, that’s very helpful. I’ve created a ticket with our engineering team and added that video to the ticket to assist in describing the issue.

I’ll keep you posted as I hear back from them. (ZSEE-77552)

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Hi just checking back in on this. Our customers continue to be frustrated by this experience.

Maybe while we wait to hear back from Zoom’s engineering team, could you point me to any documentation that describes when/how Zoom will or won’t sync with Google Calendar? I would be happy to study that closely and see if we can find other workarounds.

Thanks for your patience here. Our team got back to me with some steps to resolve the issue, but it doesn’t answer our questions. I’m pushing for more detail and am hoping to have a substantial response for you very shortly

With that being said, we don’t seem to have information on the specifics of syncing but I’ve done my best to include our relevant documentation below.

To start here is documentation on our bi-directional calendar syncing:

And we have information on calendar syncing here:

Apologies for the delay here, I was OOO but don’t have a response from our team to confirm these details. I followed up with them to see if I can get more information.

Thank you. This continues to be a major issue with our joint customers. I’m really surprised that this isn’t considered as a critical bug – the API offers the option to create “recurring no fixed time” meetings, which aren’t a concept in any calendar platform.

I can’t understand why Zoom would see changing those meetings as OK, even with the calendar sync feature on (which it is not).

Hey @patrick_reclaim, I agree that this seems like buggy behavior and at least deserves a message to our developer platform.

I’m working to communicate this to our service engineering team but haven’t been able to do so. If I don’t hear a significant update soon I’ll reach out to a manager to see if we can pull more resources into this.