Video Conference Apps: Susan Reports

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from: Longevity Explorers | Sequoias SF, SF Village

Discussion Summary

Susan Reports that her favorite apps are those used for videoconferencing.

So what is videoconferencing?

Remember talking to your far-flung coworkers, families, and friends on Skype years ago? The connection was undependable and there were time limitations at the basic level. Now you hear and read about news programs, court proceedings, religious group services, classroom teaching, musical performances, business sessions and so much more that utilize standard online connections to communicate with others. This phenomenon is called video conferencing, also known as App or Online Socializing. This is a whole new ball game with a lot more to think about for us seniors.


We will start by thinking about the rules and lining up the players. First, all apps require:

  • Location and setup considerations - proximity to updated router
  • Computing device – updated computer
  • Good internet connection


When making a choice about what Communication Apps to try, consider the following:

  • Find out what your families and friends use. (Maybe it’s just a phone call).
  • Company reputation
  • Cost
  • Familiarity with platforms and ease of use
  • Need to share documents, photos or presentations 
  • Messaging and video chats
  • Collaboration with colleagues, and how many people involved



Zoom is an app used for a variety of uses – Book groups, Happy Hour and Board Meetings - Zoom is not specific to any one platform. And It is free without time limits during the pandemic. Cute bells and whistles, diversity of use with business meetings in mind, tools like breakout rooms, private back-channel chatter, and screen sharing are all built in. It works pretty well, with few dropouts and high-quality video that seamlessly shifts to show whoever’s speaking. Multiple users can even share their screen simultaneously, a feature unique to Zoom. It can also be good for grandparents reading e-books or other book formats to their grandchildren or for busy parents who are hiring remote babysitters to keep an eye on their kids

According to explorer Susan, the big issue with Zoom is security. [Editor note: we believe most of these security issues have been addressed at this time].


The 'Big Three' Big Tech Companies' alternatives to Zoom include:

  • Apple Facetime – I have used this for years. Apple device like IPhones are required to make it work. If you have an IPhone, tap the screen icon once to turn the call into a video chat. Unfortunately, Facetime has no business features like screen sharing.
  • Alphabet Google’s Hangouts– I use this for chat with my son and his family. This app is the best for Gmail and Chrome devotees. Hangouts has no time limits, and like Skype, Hangouts also offers the ability to make voice calls to a standard phone.
  • Microsoft Windows Skype - that you can use it to make calls to any telephone worldwide for low per-minute fees. Still prone to stutter and disconnects. Problems inviting those who are not registered with Skype.


Videoconferencing Apps Used more by large organizations:

  • Google Meet
  • Microsoft Teams - Great for organizations using Microsoft Office 365.
  • Slack - Business and academic platform to plan and carry out collaborative projects. Offers Chat, Presentations.
  • Cisco’s Webex - Connect, communicate and collaborate – similar to Slack


Videoconferencing Apps used for entertainment:

  • Discord - Connect beyond your social circle, meet new people, enormous message board, video is possible but primarily voice or text-based group chats; use while gaming, painting or other activity.
  • Epic Games Houseparty - Released 2016 For kids and adults who want to share multiplayer games.
  • Alphabet Google Netflix Party - Watch a movie and comment with friends. Use Chrome Browser to download; everyone needs Netflix account.
  • Twoseven - Movie watch party for Hulu, Amazon, Prime, YouTube, HBO, Vimeo and Netflix. More complicated than Netflix Party.
  • Concerts and Musicians - Everyone signs into musician’s social feed like YouTube, Instagram Live, Twitch and separately sets up Facebook or Zoom to chat about it.

Conclusion: Today we compared 14 videoconferencing apps across three kinds of app categories, and members readily related to the most popular and consumer friendly ones.



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Key words: 
Video calls, free video calling app, Video Conferencing, Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts