Video Chat Apps: The vicissitudes of social distancing have surprised many people, making video calls a new necessity for remote socializing. But which of the two dozen apps should you and your (perhaps less tech-savvy) friends and family use? Our recommendations are for a coffee shop, a family reunion, or a late-night gaming hangout.
This listing is for people looking for a free solution to easily connect with others, not for small businesses or enterprises. The focus here is on user-friendly features that make it appealing to ordinary people. Each app is free and cross-platform, meaning at least iOS and Android, with many Mac and Windows computers also supported.
For large groups
Skype (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Linux, Internet)
Advantages: Many simultaneous calls
Cons: Try too hard to do anything else
Skype has been everywhere for a long time, and while its desktop app is handsomely weak, the mobile version is solid and supports large groups with no real-time limit (four hours each call, Hundred hours each month) for free. As long as you only focus on video calls, that’s great, but it’s best to avoid Skype emoji reactions, status updates, and other vulgarities.
Zoom (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows)
Zoom is one of the most popular specialized video conferencing apps due to its reliability, strong web integration, and other features. It was initially listed here as an excellent general-purpose option because of these benefits. Still, reports have multiplied that the software employs poor security standards and other shady practices that the company has deliberately implemented. Inaccurate. We do not commend using Zoom for calls may sensitive vocal information. In fact, with so many other excellent options available, it’s hard to recommend using them.
For Friends And Family
Facebook Messenger (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows)
Pros: Easy to use, lots of people are already there, some helpful group features
Cons: Facebook account required
Messenger is a popular app: it works well for just about any kind of digital communication you want to do with your friends. It supports up to eight people on free video calls with no time limit, and when you make a two-way call, it switches to a peer-to-peer structure, bypassing servers and potentially avoiding congestion. Of course, it’s also a Facebook product, which means you’ll need an account there, which isn’t for everyone. But using Messenger is considerably better protected from Facebook spying than posts and images on the leading site.
WhatsApp Messenger (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Web)
Advantages: Safe, popular
Cons: Only four people per video call
Think of WhatsApp as the nerdy, less pretty sibling of FB Messenger. With a focus on privacy, WhatsApp is famous worldwide despite being super ugly, and while video calling isn’t its main feature, it’s possible if you don’t mind the four-person limit. Not. Do not. To activate it, start a group chat, tap the call button in the top right, select the participants, and tap the camera.
Google Duo or Hangouts (iOS, Android, Web)
Pros: Simple interface, uses an existing Google account
Cons: Confusing platforming issues, Duo might not last long in this world
The Duo is one of Google’s latest messaging products, launched alongside Allo and intended to be a consumer version of Hangouts, splitting into Chat and Meet but still existing on its own. But the apps work pretty well so far, connecting to your existing contacts and Google accounts and letting you make simple, limitless video calls. If your friends do not want to sign up for a new version anywhere, this is a good option – don’t get attached, as unwanted Google products don’t tend to live extended.
Marco Polo (iOS, Android)
Pros: Video messaging is a fun substitute to live chats
Cons: No live chat choice
It’s not a video chat app per se, but the thing is, not everyone wants to do face-to-face live video all the time. Marco Polo is like a simplified Snapchat, sending short videos to friends or groups with the ability to add doodles, filters, and more. If you and your friends find it hard to reserve half an hour to talk live, this can be a good alternative.
Honorable Mentions: FaceTime, Instagram
FaceTime is great, but it’s not cross-platform, severely limiting its usefulness. But if your friends have Apple products, this is a great option, simple and secure. Instagram has integrated video calls into direct messages, suitable for quick calls with people you’re not sure you want to fit into a smaller circle of connectivity.
Also Read: What Is Deep Learning, Definition And Examples
House Party (iOS, Android, web)
Pros: Simple group chat, dropout, integrated games
Cons: A Heads Up trojan, sudden popularity affected video quality
Houseparty has established its brand as the app used by teenagers to chat with groups of friends without leaving home. The experts disagreed, but the children usually have the last word. A house party is excellent for a group of close friends, letting you know when someone is available and letting people easily join the chat with minimal hassle. The built-in games are also fun, but you’ll need to be ready for Heads Up decks. The Pictionary clone is fun, but it desperately needs better words.
Discord (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Linux, Web)
Pros: Great for in-game voice chat or just casual video chat
Cons: sometimes confusing interface, not video-focused
Discord is the de facto champion of gaming-related communications, replacing many in-game chat interfaces and even school industry heavyweights like Steam. Although it mainly focuses on audio and does it well, video is also an option. Less experienced users may also confuse its interface with multiple tabs, groups, and channels.