Use these apps to stay in touch with friends and family during COVID-19

It can be easy to start feeling lonely if you’re working from home or just quarantining by yourself during the COVID-19 crisis. Luckily, there are several ways you can stay in touch with friends, family, and colleagues during this time!

You’ve probably heard of Zoom, House Party, Facetime, and other video-conferencing applications. So, what’s the difference between all of them? We’re going to break it down for you here.


Zoom

Photo: Zoom Video Communications, Facebook

Zoom is a remote conferencing service that is great for people who are working on their laptops or desktops during the day. You can utilize the full-featured basic plan for free with unlimited meetings. This is great for co-workers to use for video conference calls, meetings, presentations, and other work-related communications. You can get up to 1,000 video participants and 10,000 viewers on one Zoom meeting. Click here to see pricing and plans to see if it fits into your budget. Zoom also has fun features like background changes and filters.


House Party

Photo: House Party, Facebook

House Party is described as, “a face to face social network.” This is the app that most of my friends have been using to catch up after our workday ends. The app is free to use. You just download, create a profile, and “enter the house.” Your friends on the app will get a notification that you’re in the “house” and available for a video chat. It uses a split screen to accommodate multiple users in the same video chat. You can also play games with users like trivia and Heads Up!


Skype

Photo: Skype, Facebook

Skype is a video chat and group calling app that allows for video conferencing. It’s available for free on desktop, mobile, tablets, Xbox, and Alexa. Skype also offers cool features like background blur, so you’re always in focus in the video. You can also turn on live subtitles and record audio and video chats. Skype is great for international video chats! It offers Skype Translator so no matter who you’re talking to or what language is being spoken, everyone is on the same page.


Apple Facetime

Apple users are probably most familiar with the Facetime feature on their iPhones. You can add filters, add effects, and take live photos with Facetime. You can group Facetime with multiple iPhone users. The only hook? You cannot Facetime a non-iPhone user. So for someone with an Android, you’ll need to download Skype or one of the other apps.


Google Duo

Photo: Google Duo, Facebook

Google Duo is a video chat app developed by Google, available on the Android and iOS operating systems. You can video chat up to 8 people with Google Duo. The app allows you to make high quality video calls through mobile, desktop, tablets, and smart displays like the Google Nest Hub Max. Google Duo also comes with a Knock Knock feature — where you’ll be able to see the person who is calling you live before you answer.


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