Like many of us, you’ve probably been spending a lot of time video chatting with friends or having work meetings on Zoom. In this age of social distancing, connecting virtually has become even more important, so it’s no wonder that so many people are calling their loved ones to play games or catch up while they’re stuck at home. If you’re looking for even more ways to connect, though, there are so many alternatives to Zoom that also allow for video chatting the whole night through. We are, after all, a society that loves to have options. With myriad video call services available, there’s no excuse not to check in with your loved ones or even host a virtual party. Staying connected to one another is one way we can all stay mentally healthy during these unprecedented times, and luckily, we rounded up nine different ways to do just that.
From the ever-popular Skype to newer video calling options like Instagram’s video chat feature, there are so many easy ways to talk to your friends and family while staying at home. While nothing is quite the same as hanging out IRL (Anyone else miss hugging their loved ones?), video chatting is the closet thing we have so far. So, until someone comes out with a widely-available hologram machine, the 9 alternatives to Zoom below are your best bet for staying connected. Whether use prefer to use your phone, laptop or desktop computer to chat, you’re sure to find the best option for all your virtual needs in this round-up. Say hi to your mom for us!
Skype is a tried-and-true way to connect with all your friends through chat, voice calls and—of course—video calls. I can remember staying up late in high school chatting on Skype with my BFFs, and now is the time to re-live those days. If it can stand the test of time and still remain a go-to, you know Skype is an amazing video chatting option.
2. House Party
House Party is an easy-to-use video chatting app that works on iOs devices, Androids, macOS and Chrome, so you can talk to all your friends no matter their tech set-up. You can chat one-on-one or in a group of up to eight people.
On the newer end of video-chatting services, Instagram’s video chat might quickly become your new favorite way to connect with your pals. All you have to do is start a direct message with up to six people, then tap the video icon in the top right to start a video chat.
4. High Five
High Five video conferencing allows you no limit on minutes or number of people in the call. So you can grab your biggest group of friends and chat the night away. And while it does require purchasing their conferencing device, you can start by using a free trial to see how you like it.
If you and all your friends are iPhone or Mac users, FaceTime is perhaps the easiest way to video chat on your phone, laptop or desktop. It may seem like an obvious choice, but FaceTime has so many features of which you might not be aware—including the ability to start a group FaceTime directly from a group text chain. Iconic.
Google Hangouts is another easy-to-use chat, voice call and video call service that simply connects to your Gmail account. From there, you can add up to 10 (!!) people to your video calls, so virtual game nights can commence.
While BlueJeans was created to host video conferencing for businesses, it can just as easily be used for video chatting between friends. This service is one that does require a membership, but if no one in your group already has access, you can use their free trial to get started.
You might already use Slack for chatting during work hours, but now you can also use it to make voice or video calls. You can talk with one person or multiple people—and even share your screen to show off your latest favorite meme. The possibilities are endless.
9. Marco Polo
Thanks to my younger brother—who I’ll finally admit is probably more in-tune with the world than I am at this point—I found out about the video chatting app Marco Polo. The app is similar to Snapchat in that you don’t necessarily video chat live, but send video messages. Unlike Snapchat, though, these messages don’t delete, so you can respond to friends and family in your own time. It’s a great way to update your loved ones even if you’re busy all day and can’t sit and chat for very long.