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Thursday, September 16, 2021

WhatsApp to Zoom: Check out all the options for free video calling, and what they offer

Video calling has become an integral part of our lives thanks to the pandemic and remains so. We take a look at the best video calling apps to try out, depending on your need.

By: Tech Desk | Lucknow |
Updated: July 29, 2021 5:41:08 pm
A look at some of the best free video calling apps (Image source: Pixabay)

Video calls have become the de facto mode of communication for many of us thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and its emphasis on social distancing. More importantly, we’ve seen companies acknowledge this fact, and add more features to the video calling aspect of their apps. We take a look at the best options to consider for video calling 2021, and what are the latest features to keep in mind.

Best video calling apps in 2021

WhatsApp

WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps out there and offers a clean user interface. The company has also revamped the interface for video calling on Android and iOS and it looks more like FaceTime now. The app is used by over a billion users, and for many in India, a video call is the same as a WhatsApp call.

To make a call on WhatsApp, just open the contact you want to call and tap on the video or voice call button. The platform also allows you to make group video calls with up to eight participants. Another addition is that video and audio calls on WhatsApp are now joinable, meaning that you can join the call even after it has started. This is important, given at times one might be busy when the call starts. The ability to join an ongoing call, later on, is a very useful addition to the app.

Telegram

Telegram is a free-to-use messaging app, which allows users to make both voice and group call on the platform. The group video call capability was added last month to Telegram. Users are allowed to add up to 30 participants in a group call, which gives it a big advantage over WhatsApp. There is no time limit on group calls.

All the one-on-one meetings are also free. The messaging app allows users to share their device screen as well, but one cannot record meetings. Users can also convert a voice group call into a video call by switching to camera mode. But keep in mind that with only audio calls, the number of participants is unlimited.

Google Duo

Google Duo remains a solid option for making video calls. The app is free to use and lets users make video calls, which are end-to-end encrypted, which means they’re private to you and the person you’re calling. Even Google can’t hear what is being discussed during the call. A host can create a group of up to 32 participants as well.

Google Duo allows users to leave a video or voice message if the other person is not available to pick up the call, which is useful. It offers this via a feature called “Knock Knock.” When you call a contact using Duo, the other person can see a live video of you while the device rings if they have you as a contact. You won’t be able to see the person you’re calling until they answer.

However, keep in mind that Google Duo is better suited for those using video calling on their phone. For meetings, screensharing capabilities, Google Meet is the better pick, though it has a time limit on call duration for non-enterprise users. Unlike Meet, Google Duo has no support for text messaging either.

Zoom

Zoom has emerged as the most popular for video calls, thanks to the pandemic. It is among one of the most easy-to-use video calling apps and works across smartphones, laptops, and tablets. The one-on-one calls are free, but the platform limits group sessions to 40 minutes and 100 participants. If you think that your group call won’t last more than 40 minutes then that is great, otherwise, the host will have to stop the call after 40 minutes and then start again. Those who are using this service for free will be able to share their screen and even record the video.

Zoom has a lot of features making it suitable for bigger meetings, including the ability to blur background, even add fun filters.

Facebook Messenger Rooms

Facebook’s Messenger Room call is another solid option for big group video calls as there is no time limit and a host can add up to 50 participants. One can join an open room with a link or create a private room link. Further, one can join video calls even if they don’t have a Facebook account. There is also a chat function in Rooms so you can share your thoughts and content with each other during video calls.

The host can remove any unwanted participants. One will also find camera filters, mood lighting, themed events and 360-degree backgrounds. There is no time restriction on calls. You can create rooms from Messenger, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram.

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