Almost a no-brainer for iPhone, iPad or Mac users. It’s baked into all Apple gadgets and easy to use. It’s full of smart features — we like how it automatically expands the size of the person who’s speaking in a group call and the cool 3D face masks. FaceTime supports 32 users at a time. And then there’s Apple’s promise of privacy; all calls are encrypted, a feature that keeps calls totally private. However, it only works on Apple products, making it impossible for anyone on your group with an Android or Windows device to join the party.
An App that has been trending almost since ‘Social distancing’ became a buzz word. The killer feature is group calls — the App allows up to 100 participants on a free basic account. There’s a 40-minute time limit though. You could opt for paid versions (that include small and medium business versions) if you need to stretch group calls beyond 40 minutes. There’s no time limit on one-to-one meetings and the screen share option is handy if you’re making a PowerPoint presentation. You can also customise your background in case you need to mask your messy living room when you’re on a work call.
Google recently increased the limit on the number of callers on a video call to 12. While it’s not as many as the 32 on FaceTime, it’s platform agnostic allowing you to chat with users on iPhones. Just like FaceTime it’s built into many Android devices, allowing you to switch to video chat effortlessly. I dig the feature that allows you to view the caller before you answer. This is a feature that you have to enable.
It has been the ‘go to’ video calling app for many users across the world. It’s versatile, easy to use and is loaded with features. Skype has some handy features for business users — it lets you record, save and share your video calls and also offers live captions and subtitles. It can support up to 50 callers on an audio call while numbers vary depending on the device for group video calls.
Having a ‘houseparty’ is not the same in 2020. This group video chat App allows you to chat with your contacts across platforms. It’s particularly popular for friends and family online get-togethers.You can play popular games like Heads Up! virtually through its interface. The App allows up to twelve users on a group video call.
A Houseparty alternative that allows up to 9 callers on a group video call and adds some interesting features. You can catch up on YouTube videos, share your screen or shop with friends while you’re using the App.
(Ashwin Rajagopalan is a lifestyle writer and consumer technology expert. Catch the latest digital and tech updates in this weekly column.)