Tips Featured Apps: Free Video Chat Options
The need for video calls are on the rise as social distancing becomes a new normal for all of us. We have gathered some information about common free apps that are out there to assist you with video conferencing for work, school, and “just for fun” meetings with family and friends!
Featured App FaceTime
FaceTime allows those with Apple devices to connect with other Apple device users. The built-in app uses WiFi or cellular data and can be accessed on iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches, or Macs. All your Apple devices can be synced, allowing you to use any of your devices to FaceTime friends or family. A FaceTime call allows you to make a video call or just an audio call. Some new improvements to FaceTime have been made, including: a screenshot button, special effects and backgrounds, and the ability to allow multiple people on one call.
Featured App Facebook Messenger
Many users know Facebook Messenger as simply a messaging app, but did you know it has a video call feature as well? When in a message thread with a friend, simply click the video camera icon. A voice call only is also available by clicking the phone icon. A great element to Facebook Messenger is that anyone with the Messenger app can make or receive calls, and it does not matter if you are on a desktop computer, a mobile phone, or a tablet! Group video chats are also available when you create a message between multiple friends. The app is free and Wi–Fi or cellular data is required.
Featured App Skype
Skype, a Microsoft video and audio platform, allows you to connect with up to 50 people at once as well as to share files, images, and chat in the Smart Chat feature. Live captions are available as well as subtitles. Other fun features include background blur, Skype Translator, Call Forwarding, Voicemail, Caller ID, and more! The app is available on mobile phones, desktop computers, tablets, Xbox, and is Alexa-enabled — one login for all your devices. The app is free and Wi–Fi or cellular data is required.
Featured App Google Hangouts
A Communications platform, Google Hangouts features text, voice, and video chat capabilities. Hangouts is available as a mobile app on both iOS and Android devices or on a web browser. Group sizes vary from 2 to 150 participants in a text chat and 2 to 10 in a video or voice chat. Other features include HD Video, screen sharing, admin screen controls, intelligent muting, and integration of Google applications like Docs, Slides, Sheets, and more. Wi-Fi or cellular data is required to run Google Hangouts.
Featured App Houseparty
Video chatting platform Houseparty is a face-to-face social network that connects you to your friends through your social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and more. Both iOS and Android devices have Houseparty capabilities. One feature that sets Houseparty apart from the rest of the video chats is the built-in games feature. Groups of up to 8 people can play Heads Up!, Chips, Trivia, and Quick Draw. Facemail, another feature of Houseparty, allows you to record and send a video message to a friend. Private Mode allows you to limit your interaction with those outside of your friend list. The app is free and Wi-Fi or cellular data is required.
Featured App Zoom
Zoom is a popular video meeting app that includes these key features and more: high quality video, screen sharing capability, a chat room, easy-invite of contacts, interactive participant or webinar view modes, and photo and file sharing capabilities. This app can be used on mobile devices (iOS, Android, etc.) and on desktop computers. Zoom is a free app and is accessible over WiFi or 4G/LTE and 3G networks. Your meetings can hold anywhere from 1 to 100 people.
Recently there have been reports of “Zoombombing” hackers who insert themselves in your meetings and share explicit content. Zoom has released statements saying they do not believe their software is to blame for the lack of security but rather the operators of the app have not set up the proper safety measures to keep hackers out. Read this blog post on the Zoom website to review suggested safety measures to take when using their app.
Featured App Microsoft Teams
Included in the Microsoft Suite and used primarily by businesses, Microsoft Teams is a great way to meet with groups of all sizes. Meet securely one-on-one or with a group of up to 10,000 people. Larger groups tend to be more of a webinar format and use a feature called a live event. Smaller meetings allow guests to mute and unmute their microphones as well as to turn off their cameras, which encourages input to be given by members of the meeting. Meeting notes can be shared as well as a user’s screen. External guests can join via an emailed link — no app download required. Wi–Fi or cellular data is required to run Microsoft Teams.
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