Whether you are self-isolating or social-distancing, you can still keep in touch with friends, family, and colleagues with video chats. Host a virtual happy hour, say hello to your loved ones at a nursing home, start a book club or a group workout, catch up with your parents, host a family reunion – the possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
There are free, easy to use tools that can help you stay connected. Read through the options below and choose one that best suits your needs!
Skype: Skype is an application that supports video chat and voice calls between computers, tablets and mobile devices over the Internet. Skype is the granddad of video chat, allowing up to 50 people to participate and have a conversation at once.
Zoom: Zoom is a video conferencing tool that allows individuals to meet and work together productively when meeting in-person isn’t possible. A free, full-featured basic plan offers unlimited 1 on 1 meetings. There is a 40 minutes limit on group meetings. A paid subscription offers additional features.
WhatsApp: WhatsApp is a messaging app for smartphones. It uses the Internet to send messages, images, audio or videos. The group video calls can accommodate a maximum of four people. They are end-to-end encrypted, which means the chat is protected and can’t be intercepted by outside hackers.
Facebook Messenger: Facebook Messenger app is primarily used for sending messages, but also includes a video chat option. Group video chat on Messenger allows up to 6 people at a time, but up to 50 people can join the call. Once more than six people are on a call, the main person talking is shown on-screen to everyone.
Google Hangouts: Google Hangouts is a communication tool that allows conversations between two or more users. Google Hangouts allows you to set up a voice or video “hangout”. Up to 25 people can join a video Hangout and up to 150 people can join a voice-only Hangout. The organizer needs to have a Google account.
FaceTime: FaceTime is Apple’s video and audio calling service. Up to 31 people (32 if including an organizer) can join a call as long as all participants are using an iPhone, iPad or Mac computer running iOS 12.1 or Mojave.
Quarantine Chat: A brand new voice-chat app for connecting with people around the world who are in self-quarantine or self-isolation. The app is run through Dialup and calls people at random times to chat one-on-one. With every call comes the same prompt: to look outside a window and describe what’s there.
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How long the pandemic will last is still unclear, but with the benefit of available technology we can stay connected and close the distance between us.
Be safe! Wash your hands! Stay connected!