If you've been using video calls to stay in touch with coworkers, family, and friends during these past few weeks, you've likely been using a video conferencing app like Zoom. But if you've been worried about some of
Zoom's recent privacy concerns or just want some other options for keeping connected to the people in your life, there are some great alternatives for Zoom, and turns out, they're just as easy to use.
With people adhering and adjusting to social distancing guidelines, searches for "video conferencing apps" have increased dramatically.
Google Trends shows that since mid-March, these searches have hit never-before-reached heights. Google searches for "Zoom" have seen a similar increase during this time.
Zoom is the No. 1 most downloaded video conferencing app and may be great for work meetings, virtual happy hours, and Powerpoint parties, there are some other apps out there that are ideal for getting work done, virtually hanging with friends, and keeping in touch with loved ones while in quarantine. Zoom is a great option, but it's not the only option out there for you. Here are eight Zoom alternatives that you can download on your desktop or phone right now. SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images
Google Hangouts, you can do all of the same functions that are available on Zoom with some key differences, which include a maximum participant number of 25 people per video call (Zoom's max is 100), no limit on the length of video calls (Zoom limits group meetings to 40 minutes), and screen-sharing capabilities (with Zoom, multiple people can share their screens while Google Hangouts only allows one person to do so). Google Hangouts is a great choice when it comes to small team work meetings, one-on-one talks with loved ones, and weekly check-ins (or dance parties) with your friends. GoToMeeting is a platform used by businesses to conduct meetings, interviews, and other virtual hang-outs. Once you have an account (plans start at $12 per month) you can host a meeting and invite anyone else. If your business or place of work wants to move away from Zoom, this is a great option. GoToMeeting is a little more technically advanced than Zoom, such as the ability for the meeting host to control screen settings, including adjusting the brightness, shadows, and highlights for visuals. Chesnot/Getty Images News/Getty Images
While FaceTime isn't really used for work meetings, it's still a great way to stay connected with your friends and family while social distancing. FaceTime is super easy to use, and calling someone up only takes a few taps. Plus, since
Apple introduced Group FaceTime, you can use the app for quick group calls with your friends. While Zoom may be a great option for scheduled meetings, Group FaceTime calls are a great option for spur of the moment conversations with friends and family. It's definitely the more personal and casual option. BlueJeans boasts itself as the "world leader in cloud video conferencing." You can use BlueJeans to video conference from any smart device, making it an easy platform for all users to navigate. There are Meetings, Rooms, and even Events you can host and invite others to. A great option for businesses, BlueJeans is perfect for when you want to have a quick work meeting without the fuss of figuring out any extra technology. SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images Skype has been around since 2003, making it a great and reliable way to stay connected with others. Whether you want to have a quick work meeting, host an interview call, or just check in with your friends, Skype is a viable option that allows up to 50 people in a phone or video call. Plus, online calls are free. Skype is the easier option, mostly because people are usually already familiar with the software, whereas Zoom is something many people are just now starting to figure out. Jitsi is a free and open multiplatform voice, videoconferencing, and instant messaging application. The platform prides itself on better-quality videos due to a higher resolution compared to its competitors. While it's traditionally used for work, it can serve as an option for talking with friends as well. Unlike its competitors, Jitsi is entirely free and has unlimited calling, making it a more cost-effective way to conduct day-to-day business. NurPhoto/NurPhoto/Getty Images
If you're looking for a more lively way to talk with friends, Houseparty is the way to go. It's similar to Zoom in the way that it allows each user to see all other people in the call, but there's a maximum of eight people allowed in each call. Aside from regular video calling, the Houseparty app allows you and your friends to play different games together, including Trivia, Heads Up, and Quick Draw, so it's ideal for casual get-togethers.
Microsoft Teams is a great option for businesses, especially if a lot of your work is already done using Microsoft Suite. It's a way to consistently use the same platform for all of your work. Video calls can host up to 250 members and is a great option for those who want to have work or class presentations. While it shares a lot of similar Zoom features, including file sharing, screen sharing, and text chats along with video calls, Microsoft Teams is more suitable to those who want to keep their all of their professional work in one place.