Connect virtually with friends and family
Necessity is the mother of invention. That’s why truckers have been ahead of the curve when it comes to the virtual lifestyle. Now that everyone is in the same boat, the larger crowd has inspired new options. Here are some digital ways to connect with friends and family.
Relatively few people knew about Zoom before the pandemic. Now, it’s a household name. Zoom has proven to be a great way to connect remotely to several people at once. Zoom also has call-in numbers for anyone who can’t video call. A free account allows up to 100 participants for to up to 40 minutes per meeting.
Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp
Facebook users can connect with one another via video chat, including entire group chats. For about $100, you can buy a Facebook Portal, a tablet-like device that automatically connects to Messenger video calls in addition to other cool stuff. Facebook also owns WhatsApp, but it allows only up to eight people at a time.
Google Hangouts and Duo
Much like Zoom and Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts can be accessed via app or website on a desktop. Use your Google sign-in info to connect with up to 10 people during the same video call. You can also share photos, maps, emojis, stickers and GIFs. Google Duo allows only video calls but for up to 12 people.
Skype is still a tried-and-true video call method. Very similar to Zoom, Skype allows audio and/or HD video calls with up to 50 people, screen sharing, call recording, live subtitles and the ability to call phones. Available as a smartphone/tablet app, desktop app, web, Alexa and Xbox.
Houseparty allows up to eight people to video chat at once. Users can have infinite rooms and easily float between rooms. Users receive a notification when friends open the app and can join chats with friends. The kicker: You can play games with each other.
If you don’t have time for a conversation, it’s still nice to see a face. Marco Polo is a smartphone app that acts like a text message app, but with video messages. Send a video message, get one in return and reply at your earliest convenience. LL