When COVID-19 sent everyone into isolation, people scrambled to find the best way to keep in touch with work, friends and family while staying safe at home. Here are some of the more popular apps which also are free to use (with internet connection of course):
Discord – originally designed for gamers (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android and Linux).
- video with up to 10 people; voice with up to 500
- easily switch between group and private channels
Skype – developed by Microsoft (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android and Linux).
- video and voice chat with up to 50 people
- can be downloaded to tablets, Xbox, and Alexa
Google Duo – developed by Google (web browsers, Android and iOS).
- video and voice chat up to eight people
- can be downloaded to tablets and Google Nest Hub Max devices
- shows a video preview of who’s calling
Facebook Messenger – developed by Facebook (Android and iOS).
- voice chat up to 50 people but video will only show up to six people at a time – the dominant speaker’s camera feed will be shown
- users must have a Facebook account
- features GIFs, stickers and filters for video calls on some platforms
FaceTime – built into iPhone, iPad, and MacOs. “FaceTiming” has become synonymous with any video chat communication, like Google has for searching.
- have up to 32 people in a FaceTime call
- only available between users of Apple devices
Whatsapp – joined Facebook in 2014, but continues to operate as a separate app (Android, iOS, browser app available for Windows and Mac).
- video chat up to four people at a time; voice messages, pictures, and texts can be shared with up to 256 people
- works on WiFi, so you can call people across the country with it
Zoom – subscription and free versions available – free version has some limits (web browsers, Android, iOS and many program plug-ins).
- video chat up to 100 people; a limit of 40 minutes for the free version
- screen-sharing capabilities, unlimited one on one video calling, and integration of applications like Google Calendar, Slack workspace messaging, Evernote, Twitter, and Youtube