If not ZOOM than what ! Best Zoom alternatives for video call and conferencing !
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If not ZOOM than what ! Best Zoom alternatives for video call and conferencing !

Ever since the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis has hit the nation, video conference has become the normal way to communicate. Whether it’s a business meeting, chatting with friends and family, millions of people are using video calling apps to connect with their teams.

But Zoom became the most popular video conferencing app this lockdown. However, with the growing fame came a lot of backlash in terms of security loopholes and data mismanagement.

Even the students are also attending class via video calling apps. Hence, the popularity of these apps has exploded in the last few weeks.

Here’s how you can use the same of the Video calling apps for entertainment as well as to carry out your office work, have a look.

1. Google meet

Google was the latest to enter the video conferencing battle. On May 8th, 2020, it became accessible to everyone who has a Google account. Until 30th September 2020, there would be no time-limit on meetings or limits of any sort. Post that, video calls will have a time limit of 60 minutes.

Compared to Zoom, Google Meet has a simpler UI. There are only 2 buttons on the web page. One is to start a meeting and the other is to join one. Now, unlike Zoom, you need to have a Google account in order to join or host a meeting. By default, the host needs to permit everyone to join a meeting. Apart from this, you can unmute and disconnect other participants from the meeting.

Google Meet is an ideal alternative when compared to the ease and scalability of Zoom. However, it lacks the meeting recording feature. It’s available only for GSuite users. Moreover, there’s no inbuilt whiteboard, waiting room, breakout room, etc.

What’s good?

  • Easy to host meetings for up to 100 participants for free
  • No meeting time-limit as of now until Sept 30, 2020

What’s not?

  • No option to record the meeting for basic Gmail users
  • No breakout rooms, waiting room, etc
  • No native whiteboard for collaboration

2. Messenger rooms

The next zoom alternative we have is the recently launched – ‘Messenger rooms’ from Facebook. Currently, it hasn’t rolled to every Messenger user but we were lucky enough to have early access. Messenger Rooms as of now allows 50 users to join Facebook video conferences. Unlike Google Meet, you don’t need to have a Facebook account to join a video conference.

In the messenger app, just below your Profile, you have a link called “Create a Room”. It will instantly create a video conference which can be joined by others from even a web browser without a Facebook account. We have used it for a while and the video quality is good.

Now, coming to moderation, you have the option to choose whether the person needs to have a Fb account to join the meeting. Overall, Rooms is a good Zoom alternative where most have a Facebook account. And in the future, it plans to integrate with Instagram, WhatsApp, and Portal in the future. But, you know in the case of FB, the issue might not be outside but within the app itself. But, let’s give the service a fair share of time and see how things roll out.

What’s good?

  • Video conferences with up to 50 participants
  • Participants need not have a FB account or messenger app
  • AR emojis from Fb Messenger during video chat

What’s not?

  • No real moderation or collaborative tools

3. Skype

After global lockdowns were imposed, the usage in Skype’s video calls increased by 70 percent, according to a report by Reuters. Since Microsoft has taken the helm of Skype the number of changes has been there. Now, there is one feature which allows users to video call by just a link.

Here are the steps you can follow to make a call via Skype.

  • To make a call you first need to find the person you want to call from your Contacts list. Next, you need to select that contact and tap the Video call icon.

To make a group call, from your call list you need to select the new call option and then select all the participants you want to call and at last tap the video call icon.

4. Whatsapp

Facebook-owned WhatsApp is one of the massively used apps. As of early 2020, WhatsApp has over two billion users worldwide. WhatsApp is an easy to use app, all it’s messages and call data are protected with end-to-end encryption which basically means that the data can only be read or accessed by the users in the conversation.

You can make new chats and search for messages in the past. You can also see when messages are received and read and it’s just great with pictures. You can even use it for making a video call and voice calls. You can start a call with one individual and then add other participants easily.

  • To place a video call you need to open the chat with the contact you want to video call and tap Video Call.
  • To make a group video call from a group, you need to go to the group you want to video call. Tap New Call and select the contacts you want to add to the call and tap Video Call.

You can even make a group video call from the Calls tab. You first need to go to the Calls tab after that tap New Call > New Group Call. Next, you need to select the contacts you want to add to the call and tap Video Call.

You can even make a group video call from an individual chat. To do so you first need to open the chat with one of the contacts you want to video call and tap Video Call. Once the particular contact accepts the call, tap Add Participant, search for or select another contact and tap Add.

5. Cisco Webex

The final zoom alternative we have is Cisco Webex. It was one of the first apps to go free in order to help people working from home. So, the perks you get in the free variant are as follows:

  • Foremost, you can schedule meetings with 100 participants, and meetings can last as long as you need
  • WebEx allows screen sharing and recording of meetings locally

Compared to the other apps in this list, Cisco WebEx does have better moderation. We’ll get to that in a bit.

Now, similar to Zoom, Cisco WebEx also has a personal meeting room. In case, you’re holding a meeting with random people, don’t use your personal meeting ID. It doesn’t have a password. You would be better off scheduling a meeting that has a random password, by default.

What’s good?

  • Ability to host meetings with 100 people
  • Group polls and local recording of meetings
  • Option to delegate host and leave the meeting

What’s not?

  • Personal meeting room doesn’t have a password by default
  • No option to enable waiting room in meetings
  • No Linux App
  • The web app doesn’t allow recording of meetings and group polls

Overall, Google Meet and Facebook Rooms are the real alternatives. These are the ones that perform flawlessly in our weeks of testing. If most people in your team are already Skype users and only a few of them don’t have an account, then go for Skype meetings.

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