Social distancing has taken many people by surprise, making video calls a new necessity for distant socializing. But which of the two-dozen apps out there should you and your (perhaps not as tech-savvy) friends and family use? Here are some recommendations, whether it’s for a coffee meeting, a family get-together or a late-night gaming hangout.
For big groups
Skype has been around for a long time, the mobile version is solid and it supports big groups with no real time limit. As long as you focus on just the video calls, it’s great, but Skype’s emoji reactions, status updates and other features are best avoided.
Zoom is one of the most popular business video conference apps out there due to its reliability, solid web integration and other features. A good general-purpose option due to those pluses.
For friends and family
Facebook Messenger is a popular app for good reason — it works well for pretty much every kind of digital communication you might want to do with your friends. It supports up to eight people in free video calls with no duration limit, and when you are doing a two-person call it switches to a peer-to-peer structure,
WhatsApp Messenger with a focus on privacy, WhatsApp is popular around the world and while video calls aren’t its main feature, they are possible if you don’t mind a four-person limit. To activate it, start a group chat and then hit the call button at the top right and select the participants, then hit the camera.
Duo is one of Google’s later messaging products, started as a complement to Allo and meant to be sort of the consumer version of Hangouts, which is being split into Chat and Meet, but still exists on its own. Confused? So is Google. But the apps work pretty well for now,
For having fun together
Houseparty established its brand as the app teens were using to chat with groups of friends without leaving the house. Houseparty is nice for a group of close friends, alerting you when someone’s available and letting people easily join in the chat with minimal fuss.
So remember to keep in touch.
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