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5 Video Conferencing Apps To Keep In Touch With Family & Friends During Coronavirus

Mar 27, 2020 | 0 comments

In times of great uncertainty, many of us find comfort in the fact that we can share our concerns with friends and family. So it’s particularly cruel that the emergence of Coronavirus has severely limited the contact we can have with our loved ones.

As many of us across Europe and the wider world wake up to another day of either government imposed lockdown or self-imposed isolation, we may find ourselves craving the chance to see our friends and family, and enjoy their company. 

In the interest of safety, it can be important to keep our distance from those we love, but luckily there are plenty of apps out there that have the power to bring our nearest and dearest into our homes, all with the power of a camera.

Many of us are turning to video conferencing apps in this time of difficulty, and when many of us don’t find ourselves sharing homes with our loved ones, the need to keep in contact is greater than ever. 

Even in times of isolation, we can still find strength in being close to our friends and family, and with this in mind, let’s take a deeper look at five of the best video conferencing apps available today: 

1. Zoom

(Image: Zoom)

The great thing about Zoom is that it’s an app that can adapt to suit its intended usage. Zoom can be utilised for work meetings, chatting with family across the world, and even hosting friends for a remote get-together. 

Zoom is extremely easy to pick up and use, and is available on a variety of platforms so it’s easy for all friends and family to get set up – even older relatives who may be a little less technologically literate. 

Some of Zoom’s brightest perks includ HD quality visual and high definition audio outputs as well as end-to-end encryption ensure that your chats are completely private. The app allows as many as 49 videos on screen, so you’ll be well supported even if you have an extremely large network of family and friends! 

What’s more is that Zoom is entirely free to use for smaller scale meetings. Even if you’re aiming to host collaborative meetings on an enterprise level, monthly rates begin at a manageable £11.99. 

2. Houseparty

(Image: Mobile Marketing Magazine)

Since the imposition of lockdowns across the world, one app in particular has begun to enjoy widespread popularity. Houseparty doesn’t market itself as a conferencing app more than a fully-fledged face-to-face social media network. 

While many of us are craving conversations with our nearest and dearest, Houseparty goes the extra mile and provides not only a platform for up to eight friends to video conference, but they can also indulge in an array of entertaining activities like a remote game of Heads Up!, Quick Draw! and Trivia. 

Yes, the games are currently a little bit US-centric for more European audiences but the chances are this won’t matter with the amount of laughs and hijinx on offer. There’s even an interactive Cards Against Humanity-style feature to sink your teeth into as a group. 

Houseparty is entirely free to use and, at the time of writing, can currently be found jostling for the top spot with Disney+ on app store charts. 

3. Skype

(Image: TechRadar)

Heavy is the head that wears the social conferencing crown. Skype is the first name on most people’s lips when it comes to identifying the world’s favourite way to video call friends and families. 

There may be a lot of claimants to the throne that boast better quality of video and more features, but with Microsoft behind them, Skype is likely to be the most commonly used video conferencing software for the foreseeable future. 

With seamless connectivity between PC and Mac computers as well as iOS and Android devices – it’s even accessible via web browser – there are few friends and family members who will find any issues in setting up their accounts and getting in touch via Skype apps. 

Conveniently, Skype’s group calling feature is one of its finest, with powerful functionality and supporting features. If you’re looking to work and play hard while at home, Skype also integrates well with Microsoft Office 365 – just to help a little with working life. 

4. WhatsApp

(Image: DailyExpress)

Owned by Facebook, WhatsApp has grown to become the world’s facourite messaging platform. With over two billion active users worldwide, it’s amazing to think of how far the once paid-for-premium app has come. It’s also a little bit scary to think of how much potential it can still fulfil. 

Plenty of people have WhatsApp, and it’s incredibly easy to create new chats and keyword search for old messages sent years ago. You can also see when friends are active and when they’re replying to your messages. 

This makes WhatsApp a great platform for setting up video conferences. Yes, your calls are limited to a maximum of four users, but the convenience of WhatsApp is that you can begin on call to one member of your family and add extra participants with ease. 

5. Google Hangouts

(Image: Yamaha)

No list comprising of innovative technologies would be complete without Google wading in somewhere. Google Hangouts is an excellent option for video calling considering how widespread its usage is. While it’s mostly used by Gmail users, the app is easily accessible for everyone and can incorporate meetings within calendars and Google Docs. 

Hangouts is great for scheduling get togethers with friends and family in advance, and its intuitive setup is capable of identifying which users are talking and prioritizing the video feed accordingly. 

Google Hangouts is great for businesses, but its wider application towards friends and family ‘hangouts’ can’t be overlooked. At a time when we might be craving interactions with friends and family more than ever, the power to simply turn on, tune in and hang out can’t be underestimated by any stretch of the imagination.

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