There are many video chat platforms out there like Facetime, Zoom, Google Duo. But what is the difference? Since we are spending so much time at home many of us are connecting via video to meet with family, co-workers and friends. Many people who’ve never participated in video conferencing are now trying to figure it all out. Because of this video chatting will probably stick around for awhile. With so man options out there, it can be tricky to pick a platform. We’ll walk you through some of the popular video chat options out there so you can decide which will be your new go-to for your social engagement needs.
First up, let’s talk about Zoom. It’s been getting a lot of attention with everything going on and it’s for good reason. The app is solid on both desktop and mobile with both a free option and paid tiers. Inviting someone to a Zoom meeting is as simple as sending them a link and you can have up to 100 participants at a time. The paid tiers for Zoom increase the call time limit for groups of 3 or more, can allow you the option to request 1080p video calls and other high tier perks. The downside to Zoom is that it’s had some security issues as of late with some users reporting unwanted party crashers joining their calls. Zoom is reportedly ramping up security as we speak. Good luck!
Next up, Skype is a great free alternative to Zoom. Like Zoom, it is supported on all platforms and it’s actually a bit easier to use than Zoom. It even offers the ability to call landlines, send text and it can translate in real time. It can show your gorgeous face in 1080p, but for as long as it’s been around, it still can be spotty as far as performance, connectivity and lag, causing some to stay away. Microsoft also has a service called “Teams” aimed at enterprise users. A family version of Teams which, is part of Microsoft 365 Family, is coming soon.
Facetime and Google Duo
Facetime and Google Duo are up next. Both are installed natively on your iPhone or Android device respectively and both work similarly – just use your Phone app and choose the video call option instead of the regular option. They both work on their respective desktop counterparts as well. The downside here is that you cannot cross platform easily. Apple is notoriously stingy with their software so there’s no way to access Facetime from a non-apple device. Google plays a little nicer at this game offering Google Duo in both the App Store and Google Play Store.
Google also offers Google Meet which is a video conferencing app made initially for enterprise users only. If you had a Gsuite account you could access it for free. Now, they’ve opened this app up for free to personal, gmail users as well. It works a lot like Zoom, inviting folks to chats via a link or call in phone number, handling up to 100 participants and offering free and paid tiers. Remember Hangouts Meet? This is the evolution of that.
Facebook is getting in on the action by way of Facebook Messenger and the newly announced Messenger Rooms! Good news is your grandma might already have this one. Up to 50 people, no time limit, no Facebook account required. You can invite people to chat via a link and people can join via phone or computer. Facebook is heavily advertising its security features, so if you are leery of Zoom try Messenger.
Discord, known to gamers for a while now, has over a quarter of a billion users. Discord is primarily an app that houses online gaming communities, so they can communicate via voice, text or video either directly or in servers or channels. Discord video chat recently went from a maximum of 10 to maximum of 25 users at the same time. Super useful to easily chat with folks you already talk to on Discord via text.
Which video chatting app is your go-to? What would you like to see more of? Let us know in the comments.
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