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The 6 best video chat programs

Video chat programs have been around for a while, but with Corona they have experienced a boom like never before. And although the situation has calmed down in the meantime, many private individuals as well as companies still use video chat for communication. atechbook presents the best video chat programs.

If you want to stay in touch with your loved ones without leaving home, you have several options. On the one hand, this is possible via telephone or messenger. But it’s often better to see the person you’re talking to live. This is where video chat programs come in, which allow live transmission via camera on the smartphone, laptop or desktop PC. They are suitable for individual chats as well as for meetings in groups.

WhatsApp: Video chat with up to 8 people

WhatsApp is certainly the easiest way for many users to get in touch with friends and family. After all, the messenger is widely used and offers video telephony for groups in addition to classic chat. The service is free of charge and can also be used on the PC thanks to WhatsApp Web. Another plus point is the availability on both Android and iOS devices, so users can chat across platforms. Up to eight WhatsApp users can participate in a chat, which is sufficient for conversations within the family or friends. However, the service is less suitable for meetings within a large team.

To start a video chat via WhatsApp, callers click on the desired contact and then on the video camera icon at the top of the service. Within a group, they must first tap the icon with the phone handset and the plus, and then select those contacts they want to invite to the video chat from the list of participants. Once that is done, the call begins with a click on the video camera icon.

Microsoft Teams for the big time

Microsoft Teams experienced a boom in 2020. Many companies use the program for internal and external communication with colleagues and business partners. The program has been part of Office 365 since 2017, replacing Skype for Business, the solution offered until then. Compared to Skype, Teams offers more options for HD video telephony but also for larger video conferences. These include, for example, shared OneNote notebooks and file storage via SharePoint and OneDrive. Microsoft has also integrated appointment scheduling linked to the Outlook calendar into Teams.

But Teams is also a good tool for chatting with each other privately via video. The program is free of charge and only requires the entry of a private or business e-mail address for registration. It can be used on the PC, but also on Android smartphones and iPhones. Microsoft Teams allows up to 300 chat partners to participate simultaneously and is available in 40 languages worldwide. For owners of an Office 365 Business Premium account, the person limit within chats does not apply; participation is unlimited.

Google Meet, formerly Hangouts

A relic from earlier times? Not at all! What used to be called Hangouts has now morphed into Google Meet. The service is especially interesting for Google users, because with one click on the start button for a video chat, they immediately get to see all contacts stored via Google. Meetings can also be scheduled via the new Google Meet app. Up to 250 participants can be invited via link. The program can be used free of charge on the desktop, but also via app on iOS and Android smartphones.

Facetime: Apple’s solution

Facetime is the ideal solution for Apple users. The voice and video calling app is preinstalled on all Apple devices – and only works with them. Users of iPhones, iPads, Macs, etc. can easily initiate video conferences with their contacts. This can be done either from the app itself, from group chats or from the contact directory. Calls via Facetime are free of charge, but they consume data volume in the mobile network. Up to 32 people can participate in a video chat.

To use Facetime, users need at least an iPhone 4 , an iPad 2 or iPad mini, an iPod touch (4th generation) or a Mac with Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later.

Skype, the classic video chat program

Everyone has certainly heard of Skype (not to be confused with Skype for Business). The service has been around since 2003 and “skype” has almost become a synonym for video telephony.┬áSkype is free to use and can be installed on a PC or smartphone. For those in a hurry or those who only want to start a chat via Skype from time to time, however, the service also offers the option of starting a video call via the browser – without registration and with up to 99 participants. Users simply generate a link for this, which they forward to all participants in the video chat.

Even deaf people can use Skype without any problems, because subtitles can be displayed if desired. The service converts all words spoken during an audio or video call into text.

Jitsi Meet can be integrated into Slack

This free and open-source service, Jitsi Meet (Bulgarian for “wires” or “lines”), relies heavily on the WebRTC open standard and enables encrypted communication between participants. Users can use it via smartphone apps for iOS and Android or directly in the browser on the PC. Jitsi Meet can also be integrated into Slack. Up to 15 people can participate in a video chat.

The service offers features like text messaging, screen sharing and video conferencing. And it’s also convenient to sign up, since you don’t need a user account and can simply invite participants via a link, as with Skype.

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