Video Chat App for PC Archives

Video Chat App for PC Archives

Video Chat App for PC Archives

Video Chat App for PC Archives

Viber now lets users set photos and videos to disappear after they’re viewed

Messaging apps can amass a lot of user data over time including everything from personal photos and videos users have shared to records of who they talk to most, where they’ve been, and what online financial services they use. Over the last few years, more and more of these messaging apps began to offer end-to-end encryption to win over users who want privacy at least as much as they want to gab candidly with friends.

Today, one of the most popular encrypted chat apps, Viber (which is owned by Rakuten Inc.) rolled out what it calls “secret messages,” to give users even more control over their communications. The feature lets users designate which photos or videos stay in the archives of a chat before they hit “send.” Viber already let users delete a conversation from both their own phone, and that of recipients’ phones.

The new, secret messaging feature lets users set a timer for images they want to share, but that they don’t want to be included in the archives, in a Snapchat-like manner. A photo can be sent to a recipient with a preset view time of 1, 3, 7 or 10 seconds. After that time is up, the recipient has a record that something was shared, but they can no longer see the photo.

A video can be sent on Viber now with the option for a recipient to be able to view it just one time before it disappears from the archive. The secrete messages feature works for group or one-to-one chats using Viber on iOS or Android devices.

As of last month, Viber reportedly surpassed 800 million registered users and 260 million monthly active users. The app competes with other encrypted chat platforms including Edward Snowden-endorsed Signal, WhatsApp, Line and Kakao Talk, to name just a few.

The new, secret messages feature in Viber may be welcome but it’s not exactly groundbreaking. Line and Kakao Talk, for example, offer something similar. Line has a timer, much like Viber’s for still photos. And Kakao Talk deletes messages after they have been read. Snapchat, of course, made ephemeral messaging mainstream.

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, Video Chat App for PC Archives

Category: Video Chat

During these pandemic times, it seems that almost everyone has had to learn how to video-conference with others. That is, we’re getting on the computer to see and talk to our family, doctor, teacher, etc. through our webcams.

And a suddenly popular program for that is Zoom. Unfortunately, Zoom does not have a great security track-record. There’s a lot in the news about that, and it’s concerning enough to me that I personally will avoid using Zoom. And I have to urge you to keep your kids away from it, and to avoid discussing anything sensitive over Zoom.

The good news is that there are so many free alternatives, offered by long-standing, more secure companies. Take Microsoft, for example: their Skype program is great and often already installed on Windows computers. Even better, Microsoft has just created a way of Skyping with others that don’t have the Skype program.

You can use Skype without installing ANYTHING, without signing up or creating an account! Just go to this website, and start a free video chat now:

And if you are an existing Skype user and want to chat with someone who isn’t, you can still use your Skype program for that. Just click the Meet Now button in your program, and you’ll be given a Skype link you can share with anyone to start a video chat.

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Video Chat App for PC Archives

Best video chat apps in 2020

The best video chat apps are more valuable than ever these days for those looking to stay in touch and connected to friends and family. Fortunately, there's all kinds of software designed to help with that, across desktop and mobile — most of which is free.

We've rounded up a list of the best video chat apps, whether you're on desktop, using an iPhone or Android handset, or gaming on your PC. Some of these apps are better suited for professional cases, like working remotely with colleagues, while others are better for simply chatting. In fact, depending on the smartphone you own, some of this software might already come preinstalled on your device.

Read on for our highlights of the best video chat apps on a multitude of platforms. And if you're opposed to spending money, fear not: every piece of software in this list at least has a free tier — and most of them are totally free, period.

What are the best video chat apps?

The best video chat app overall — and one that is particularly popular now — is Zoom Meeting, which can be used on desktop and mobile alike.

Zoom comes in free and paid tiers. The free option supports calls of up to 100 participants, though sessions with three or more individuals on the line are limited to 40 minutes, and can even run within a desktop browser window if you don't want to download the app to your machine.

Skype is a good alternative to Zoom. It's a bit easier to use, but also works across various platforms and costs nothing at the outset. It even allows you to call landlines and cell numbers at reasonable rates, supports texting and can conduct real-time translation, too.

Google Duo is an app that comes preinstalled on the vast majority of Android phones these days, and has essentially become Google's answer to Apple's FaceTime on iPhones. It's easy to use, just like FaceTime, and offers a quick shortcut to calling Google Home devices built in.

Facebook also has two solutions on offer: Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Both apps' video calling features saw a bump from 8 to 50 participants this past spring.

Finally, we recommend Discord for gamers, which features robust apps across mobile and desktop. In fact, Discord is built for streaming games to small groups of people, and the company recently increased the cap on its Go Live free streaming service from 10 to 50 individuals.

Here's a closer look at all of the best video chat apps.

The best video chat apps you can download today

1. Zoom Meeting

Best all-around video chat and conferencing app

Works with: iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Web | Maximum free users: Time limit for 3 or more

Get Zoom
Good for friends and colleagues alike
Comprehensive feature set
Free tier imposes limits for 3 or more people

One of the best video chat apps lots of people are turning to these days is Zoom, and for good reason. Zoom is popular among professional teams, though it's also become more common for simple video chats because of its extensive feature set and support across all platforms — both as a local and web app on desktops, and as a downloadable app on smartphones.

Screen sharing, live annotations and encryption all come standard with Zoom, whether you use the free version of the app or decide to pay. If you're simply video chatting with one other friend, the free app doesn't lock anything away from you. That changes, however, when you decide to invite three or more people into your meeting, at which point you have a 40-minute time limit. A $15-per-month Pro tier lifts that restriction so you can have up to 100 people on the same call, while the Business tier raises that cap even higher for enterprise customers.

It has to be said that a number of Zoom security flaws have been uncovered since the app entered the spotlight during the early days of the pandemic. However, Zoom is addressing these, and we still recommend it as safe to use for the vast majority of individuals, so long as you password protect every meeting. With the recently-released Zoom 5.0 update, the app now complies with the AES 256-bit GCM encryption standard, and enforces passwords by default for professional and educator license holders, which should go a long way toward curbing Zoom bombing.

2. Skype

Best easy-to-use multiplatform video chat

Works with: iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Web, Xbox | Maximum free users: 50

Get Skype
Max 50 people allowed on video call
Supports international call and text
Available on all platforms
Business tier costs money

Skype's been a name on the list of best video chat apps for a very long time. Microsoft's offering has an impressive 50-person limit, and it costs you nothing. Like Zoom, Skype also has a browser client, and is available on practically every modern computing device and smartphone.

It's also well-suited to connecting to people who don't have devices of their own, and perhaps are restricted to landlines or a basic cell phone. Because Skype supports international calling and texting, it's a comprehensive solution for friends and family countries away.

But if you have specific needs, like screen sharing on mobile, or live transcription and translation, Skype covers those bases, too. The paid version of the app for businesses has been recast as Microsoft Teams, but you won't need to use it if all you're using it for is to chat with friends.

3. Google Duo

Best video chat for Android users

Works with: iOS, Android, Windows and Mac via web | Maximum free users: 8

Get Google Duo
Preinstalled on most new Android phones
Limited to eight people on a video call

For the longest time, Android lacked its own answer to FaceTime on iPhone and iPad — a built-in video chatting app that users could easily turn to right on their device, without having to search around for something on the Play Store (and ask their friends to download it too).

Thankfully, Google finally started to address that problem with Duo — video chat software that is remarkably easy to use and actually accessible within the standard Phone app on many Android phones. Duo also supports a range of fun features and allows you to record and send video messages, so you can connect to friends and family, even when they're not available at the same moment in time.

Duo is also available on iOS, so you're iPhone-toting friends have no right to shame you for not owning an Apple handset. In fact, the only downside with Duo is that Google limits groups to eight people or less. A recent report claimed Google is planning to fold Duo into Meet, which was initially intended more for enterprise users — though it's unclear when this might come to pass.

4. Discord

Best video chat for gamers

Works with: iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Web | Maximum free users: 10 on video call; 50 while streaming

Get Discord
Robust PC and mobile apps
Lacks more work-friendly features

Gamers already know Discord as a great resource for connecting with their friends over text, but did you know Discord supports video chat, too? Additionally, because it allows for streaming in the app itself, it's a great way to play some games with friends, by streaming one user's screen content to the rest of the group.

In fact, the Tom's Guide staff has done exactly that multiple times during the quarantine, with one user sharing Quiplash from their PC's display to the rest of us playing along by phone. Thankfully, Discord has even gone so far as to raise its Go Live built-in streaming service from a maximum of 10 people to 50 people temporarily. If you upgrade to Nitro, which costs $10 per month, you can raise the streaming quality to 1080p/60 fps, up from a max of 720p/30 fps for the free tier. 

5. FaceTime

Best video chat app for iPhone users

Works with: iOS, Mac | Maxmium free users: 32

Get FaceTime
Supports up to 32 people on a video call
Built into every iPhone, iPad and Mac
FaceTime Audio makes voice calls easy, too
Only accessible on Apple devices

It's no surprise that FaceTime should appear on this list of the best video chat apps. Apple's software wasn't the first in video chatting, but it was the one that started it all for mobile users, and led the industry toward making video chat easier and more accessible.

Today, FaceTime is preinstalled on all Apple hardware and supports a number of really fun and useful features, from cute Animojis, Memojis and stickers to up to allowing up to 32 people on a single call. And because FaceTime also has a voice call component — FaceTime Audio — you can easily route calls over data or Wi-Fi whenever you like.

The only downside to FaceTime is of course that it is exclusive to Apple hardware. But between all the people who own iPhones, iPads and Macs these days, it shouldn't be difficult to find someone to FaceTime with.

6. Facebook Messenger

Best cross-platform FaceTime alternative

Works with: iOS, Android, Windows and Mac via web | Maximum free users: 50

Get Facebook Messenger
Available on web and phone
Max 50 people allowed on video call
Lacks more work-friendly features

The beauty of using Facebook Messenger for video chat is that you're probably already signed up to use it. As long as you have a Facebook account and the Facebook Messenger app on your phone (or are logged into the Facebook Messenger web app on your computer), you can start video chatting with your Facebook friends right now. Even if you had a Facebook account at one time and have since deactivated it, you can still use Messenger.

Just tap the little video camera icon in the upper-right corner of the screen, and you can start a call with an individual or chat group. And just like Skype, up to 50 people can be present on a Facebook Messenger video call at the same time — a good sight greater than the maximum 32 video chatters that Apple's Group FaceTime supports. Plus, even while you video chat, you can still use Facebook Messenger's myriad other functions, like sending chat messages, stickers and so on.

7. WhatsApp

Another cross-platform video calling solution

Works with: iOS, Android | Maximum free users: 50

Get Facebook Messenger
Video calls limited to mobile

WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging alternatives on smartphones today, both because it's a snap to join with only a phone number and because many of your friends and family are probably already using it (or at least have an account).

Up until recently, WhatsApp's video calling feature wasn't the most robust out there. But that changed once the max participant limit was raised to 50, thanks to an integration with Facebook Messenger's new Rooms feature. The one downside to WhatsApp's video suite is that even though WhatsApp offers desktop and web apps, video chat is limited to mobile app users.

At least WhatsApp video calls are end-to-end encrypted, just like chat messages. In other words, you'll never have to worry about any of your conversations being intercepted by nefarious interlopers.

How to choose the best video chat app for you

Because all of the best video chat apps are free, you shouldn't fear trying each one out if you'd like. There's absolutely no risk involved. But if you want to know where to start, the best advice is to take stock of what you need this app for. If you're just looking to chat on your phone alone, Duo, FaceTime and Facebook Messenger will suffice.

However, if you and your friends use a number of devices to connect — phones, tablets, computers and so on — or your need is more professional or collaborative, we recommend leaning toward Zoom, Skype or Discord. These apps are available on every platform, and even though some of them offer paid tiers, you likely won't need to use them. The free versions are feature-rich to begin with.

Ultimately, you'll probably end up on whatever video chat app your friends and family already prefer using — that's the way these things tend to go. But if you're looking for a replacement, one of the options in this list will hopefully suffice.

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