You no longer have to depend on Skype or pay hefty sums for video calls. This free video conferencing app lets you set up office meetings or reconnect with friends, each offering something unique in return.
For simple video calls with friends, you can always turn on FaceTime or WhatsApp. But if someone doesn’t use Apple or doesn’t have WhatsApp, you need another option.
And then there are office meetings and professional video conferencing calls, which require other features. From recording an entire video call to adding a timestamp note to a meeting for a few minutes, you can do a lot more with this app than WhatsApp or Facetime.
ItsHello (Web): Fast Video Call, No Registration, No Download
Want to start a video call right away without signing up for an account or jumping through other hoops? ItsHello is the fastest and easiest way to start a video call. You can use it for office meetings or quick close calls.
Go to the site starting a new room for yourself. Share that room’s URL with others, and they can join. At a time, up to six participants can chat. URLs work with WebRTC-enabled desktop and mobile browsers, which are almost all modern browsers.
ItsHello even includes basic screen sharing, where you can share the full screen or only certain apps. This is useful when you want to walk someone through the steps of setting up an app, as you can demonstrate it on the screen.
Roundee (Web): Video Conference Recording and Timestamped Notes
For a quick face-to-face meeting, ItsHello is a great solution. But the professional environment needs more features. Roundee is the best free video conferencing app for office meetings, considering the things you can do on a free account.
The most impressive features are meeting recordings and notes. Hosts can record entire video calls for up to an hour, free of charge. One hour calls can also be downloaded. These recordings are available for up to three months.
During a call, the host can also press Alt + N to add a note, which can serve as meeting minutes or point to important timestamps so you know when a discussion is taking place. Recordings and notes can be shared with others after the call.
Roundee allows up to six people on a single video call, invited via your own URL. It includes support for screen sharing, has a built-in whiteboard, and you can share files too. It also integrates with Slack, if you use it for your team chats.
Jitsi Meet (Web, Android, iOS): Best Free Video Conferencing Alternative for Appear.in
Jitsi has been around for a long time as one of the best free Skype alternatives. But Jitsi’s fairly new off-shoot, Jitsi Meet, is simpler, easier, and probably a better video conferencing app altogether. So much so that I think it’s better than Appear.in.
You don’t need to register to use Jitsi Meet, creating a new room is a snap. Share the URL with others to get them to join, and add a password if you want to protect it. Jitsi Meet has a lot of cool features built in, including recording videos to Dropbox. This obviously takes up some of your Dropbox space, but it’s free to shoot videos like Roundee, minus the recorded timestamps.
Jitsi Meet also integrates with YouTube so you can start a live stream or watch a video together. The “raise hand” feature lets you draw attention to yourself when you want to speak without interrupting the current speaker. Moderators have additional options such as mute or hide new participants.
Jitsi Meet focuses on calendar integration. Add your Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook Calendar to schedule Meet Jitsi calls in it. You can even initiate a call from within the calendar app.
Download: Jitsi Meet for Android | iOS (Free)
ProfiConf (Web): Free Video Conferencing for Large Groups up to 25
Most free video conferencing tools limit calls to four or six participants. If you have a larger group, ProfiConf allows up to 25 participants in one video conference with the free plan, up to 250 people with the premium plan.
There are clear concerns about speed and lag with so many people, but Proficonf prides itself on its ability to work on slow connections. Other features include file sharing, screen sharing, and whiteboard. Hosts can also start a presentation slideshow for others to see in the meeting.
However, there is one catch. ProfiConf limits video calls to 45 minutes. Then again, when you have so many people participating, that should be enough time for most meetings, especially if you run the meeting efficiently and stop wasting time.
Houseparty (Chrome, Android, iOS): For Friendly Video Conferencing
Houseparty is a video calling app that is a social network in itself. The idea is to start a video call with your friends and leave the room open so your friends or their friends can join in. If you want it to be a private call, you can lock the room as well.
This app changes the approach to group video calls by removing the “scheduling” aspect. If two of your friends make a video call, Houseparty will send you an alert. You are free to join, or ignore it and get on with your day. It makes group video calls as casual as group chats, so you can start and finish calls without too much fanfare.
Houseparty has some cool features in it to make you spend more time in the app. You can host entertainment trivia games, for example, and challenge your friends. When a friend of a friend enters the chat, you may just make new friends with the same interests.
You can’t use it for office video conferencing and other professional purposes, but Houseparty is great for friends who want to be together more face-to-face.
Download: Houseparty for Android | iOS | Chrome (Free)
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