Top 5 Video Chat Platforms
If we were to take a brief look back through our lives, there are plenty of things that come and go. Perhaps you’ve lived in several different cities, or countries for that matter. You may have held many different jobs. But in each moment of our lives, there is a thread that remains with us through it all. Relationships. Your family, friends, romantic interests, and that entertaining shopkeeper you met while on holiday, and for some reason, you decided to follow on Facebook.
The thread that holds all of these together is communication. Without it, these relationships don’t exist. With it, they bring us a full heart and allow us to participate and share in the love, fun and excitement of those we care with. Communication, in the traditional sense, has been made more difficult lately. Friends and family are having to find new ways to see one another, and it has generated a new surge of interest in Video Chat Programs. Although a phone call can soothe the strain that social distancing has placed on our hearts, nothing beats seeing your loved one face to face. To see them laugh, not just hear it.
With advances in technology, there are more opportunities than ever to stay in contact through a video chat. The question of which platform or program to use is the obvious next question. We have provided 5 options for you to consider when staying in touch with the ones you love.
Skype has been the flagship of video conferencing for years. The program is available across a wide range of platforms, and there is a good chance you’ve already used it. Skype allows a wide range of functionality for its users, offering video chat, audio call, and text messaging service on its platforms. During a call, Skype also provides the user with the option of sharing their screen with the other party and can host up to 25 different users during one video chat session. It’s like a family reunion without the 15-hour road trip!
For all of its benefits, Skype has received criticisms as of late for its weak privacy structure. Users can increase the privacy around their Skype program, but it comes at a price. While using the program, just be advised that according to Skype’s protocol, the conversations can be made available to certain authorities.
Unbeknown to many of its users, Facebook, not just the largest social media platform also gives its users access to video messaging. The best part, most of us already have a Facebook account. Beyond that, most of the people we know are also on Facebook, and that makes making the connection with them even more accessible. In Facebook’s chat service, there is an available option for video chat. This functionality is also available on your smartphone by using the Facebook Messenger App. The audio chat allows you to set up calls with up to 50 different profiles making this a very functional tool for those looking to stay in touch.
Facebook has also had criticisms as of late for its poor management of private information and lack of data security. There is currently no automatic encryption of content and users should be aware of that when using the program.
The WhatsApp program initially started as a messenger based system that allowed people to text one another without charge. This app was highly effective when friends or families were long distances away. The program has grown leaps and bounds, and with it being added to the Facebook family, the user base for this program is extensive, and it is likely you or someone you know is using it. Although the chat function of the app allows up to 256 people in a group, the video chat function is limited to only four people. As the program is now a partner with Facebook, the same privacy concerns do arise.
4. FaceTime and Duo
Which program you can use will depend on the type of smartphone you have. FaceTime is an Apple product and is available on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Duo is a Samsung product and is available on all Android and Apple products.
Both of these programs are a slimmed-down version of some of the other options we have already been considering. Neither one will offer text services or other additional functions you may find or find useful with other products. Both FaceTime and Duo are only a video chat service. FaceTime allows you to invite up to 32 people into a video conversation, while Duo allows up to 8 at a time. Both products offer end to end encryption making the security of both of these programs a definite plus.
Zoom is a popular choice for video web conferencing and is being used widely, with over a million meeting participants per day. Zoom offers many of the same functions like Skype, but many users find that the video chat service is better and there is less chance of it “freezing up.” Zoom allows users to share their screen, link meetings to their calendars, and record the video call. Recently, due to the high volume of users, Zoom has placed a limit of 40 minutes for video calls that involve more than two people making it less convenient for large groups to get together. This can be overcome by subscribing for a monthly fee. Previous to this, Zoom would allow up to 100 participants on their free service.
Please remember that before using these services, you may need to purchase additional hardware. Check to see if your computer has a camera or a microphone. If it doesn’t, you may need to buy these before getting too far along in the process. Alternatively, if you decide to use your smartphone (as it has both a camera and microphone), please make sure you are connected to excellent internet service, as using these video apps takes a lot of data. If you use these programs without a wireless internet connection, you may run the risk of a high phone bill.
We hope this review can be useful to you as you connect again in new ways. Say “Hi” to someone for us.