Elizabeth is a Membership Clerk at Do Space
By now, you’ve probably settled into a quarantine routine, or a “quaroutine,” if you will. You know which video chatting app your work is requiring you to use if you work from home, and you’ve just finished up using the app that your kid’s school required for the year. But you may still have no idea which video chatting app is best for things like catching up with friends, talking to Grandma, or having a virtual birthday party or family reunion. We’re here with the comparison of four of the biggest names in video chatting: FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, and Google Hangouts.
Zoom: free for basic features, $15/month to unlock longer meetings or other features
Google Hangouts: free
User Limit and Time Limit
FaceTime: no time limit, and up to 32 users per call
Skype: 4 hour time limit, and up to 50 users per call
Zoom: 40 minute time limit, and up to 100 users per call
Google Hangouts: no time limit, and up to 25 users per call
FaceTime: ideal for teaching to an older or less-tech-savvy relative, because it comes built into iPhones and doesn’t require any app downloading; end-to-end encryption means that nobody can listen in to your calls; you can add fun things like text, shapes, and stickers to your video feed
Skype: has been around for a long time and may be familiar to many already; supported on almost all platforms (iPhone/Mac, Windows, Android)
Zoom: few glitches or lags; high-quality video (though this may depend on your internet connection more than the app itself); ability to add virtual backgrounds to make convos more entertaining or personalized; supported by iPhone/Mac, Windows, Android, and web browser
Google Hangouts: able to be accessed via gMail, making it easy to use and explain to any family member who has a gMail account; supported by iPhone, Android, Windows, and web browser
FaceTime: only accessible on Apple products, such as iPhones or Mac computers, so whomever you’re trying to call needs to also have an Apple device
Skype: known for freezing, lagging, and disconnecting; no end-to-end encryption on regular calls (but you are able to start encrypted calls via the “new private conversation” feature)
Zoom: privacy and security concerns have been raised in the past few months (see here for more links on that, in the Zoom section)
Google Hangouts: no end-to-end encryption, and Google can store recordings of all your conversations
We here at Do Space aren’t here to recommend any particular app or software, just to give you the information you need to make your own informed decisions, so there isn’t a big conclusion or recommendation to wrap this all up. If you need even more information, the two articles from which I gleaned most of my info can be found here and here. Also, this article is great if you specifically are looking for ways to video chat with a senior member of the family, and it recommends built-in apps like FaceTime, as well as devices created specifically to assist in video chatting, such as Facebook Portal, Google Nest Hub, and Amazon Echo Show 8.
If you need further information or want to ask questions about specific apps or devices, feel free to check out the instant messaging service available on our website! Someone is keeping tabs on it during all our usual business hours, and we’d love to help you out!