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Best video calling apps (may 2020) :Zoom app and its Alternatives

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what are the best video calling apps ? ,Whether its is your college classes or job meetings all are going remotely with help of Zoom so we can easily be in touch with our teachers, classmates and colleagues. So, now a days during COVID- 19 outbreak millions of people around the whole world are practicing social distancing by using free video chat apps like Zoom to stay in touch with your families, friends and colleagues.

Zoom is a video conferencing app used by companies and universities for remote connection. Its basic function includes the ability to chat and call individual contacts, as well as schedule meetings for events. 

It is currently becoming a frontrunner for remote video conferencing calls during COVID-19 outbreak.

Wait my friends, we have to watch out for potential security issues on this app and take necessary steps to protect  ourselfves from phishing attacks, privacy invasions and zoom bombing”-uninvited guest abusing the popular video services to broadcast shocking imagery to all.

Some zoom bombers have used the screen share feature to broadcast pornography so the trolls can wreak havoc. 

The company said in a statement: “We have been deeply upset by hearing about the incidents involving the type of attack.

For those hosting large, public group meetings we strongly encourage hosts to change their settings so that the only host can share screen. For those hosting private meetings, passwords protections are on by default ad we recommend that users keep their protection onto prevent uninvited users from joining them. We also encourage users to report any incidents of this kind directly to our support so that we can take appropriate actions.”

It is better and in our own interest that we the alternatives using this app. 

What are the best video calling apps for maintaining our privacy?

Google Hangouts Meet, Blue Jeans, Skype, Talky, High five, 8×8, JITSI MEET, CISCO WEBEX , STARLEAF ,FACEBOOK, WhatsApp are some of the alternatives to stay on touch with our family, friends, colleagues while some of these are offering temporary additional features for those who are currently working from home.

This app is proving to be especially helpful for high school students and college level courses as it allows for up to 100 participants with a free account subscription.

Let us see how we can use this app on our computer or mobile device the next para will serve as a quick guide for video meeting basics.

How to use the zoom app on your computer or mobile device:

Best video calling apps

Important points to remember regarding this app are:

  • We can use the zoom app to host or participate meetings on your mobile device.
  • It is a video conferencing service platform used by our universities and companies for remote connections.
  • The basic functionalities of this app include the ability to chat or call individual contacts as well as schedule meetings.

 How can we use the zoom app on your computer?

Step 1Open the web browser of your choice on your mac or PC and then head to the zoom website in order to create an account and manage settings. Click on “My account” after logging in.

Step 2Then you can schedule, join or host a meeting on the top of the screen. You can click on any one of the three options and then follow the prompts to set up or join video calls. To join a call you will be needing meeting-id or name.

Step 3On the left side of PC screen you will find the most important option Profile and variety of options as well. In the profile option you can change your profile picture, edit your email, password, and make other changes in the settings section. You will also find option to sign off on all devices at the bottom of this page.

Step 4Before your profile tab you will find a summary of your meetings. You can start or delete upcoming events or review previous meetings on the top.

Step 5Other tabs on the left side include webinars, recordings and your settings. The webinars can only be accessed if you pay for the account and recordings will direct you to enable the feature for you and your meeting participants.

Step 6You will find more advanced settings towards the bottom of the left panel, including managing users and room.

Here you can also upgrade your account under “Billing”, or manage your payment information if you have already upgraded to Pro, Bussiness, enterprise and etc.

         You can also download the desktop app in this you will find a more streamlined version of this app upon opening. This app is organized into four main tabs at the top of the screen: Home, Chat, meetings, contact.

  • The “Home tab” gives you the option to start a new meeting, join a current call, schedule a future event or share your screen or join a meeting. If you have any upcoming meetings for the day, you will also find them in the checklist on the right-hand side. You can also click your profile on the top left corner at any time. This will open a drop-down menu to make quick changes, such as switching your availability or profile photo.
  • You can also access your settings from that menu from the home page or by clicking the gear icon the right-hand corner of the “HOME tab”. This will open the complete settings menu. Browse through the tabs on the left-hand side to make changes. In general, you can find “view more settings” at the bottom which open your profile online for complete access to your zoom account.
  • The next in line is the “Chat tab” it keeps account of your conversations between different contacts. You can star or favorite conversation or browse through your recent ones. You will also find a contact request if anyone has requested to join a directory. Additionally, any shared file will appear in the file section.
  • The “Meeting tab” shows a summary of upcoming events, organized by date. You can toggle between upcoming and recorded meetings at the top, or click the Plus sign to schedule a new one. Click on any one pre-existing meetings to view the options to start it early, copy the invitation, edit or delete it. You can also click to show the meeting invitations send to the invites.
  • Lastly, the contacts tab to keep track of the colleagues and classmates you add to the platform. View content information by browsing through the left-hand categories: stared, external and cloud contacts. You can also click to view channels, which are group of contacts to help your organize activities. Click the plus sign to add a new contact or channel.

Now after discussing how to use this app on PC, lets see how can we make use of this app on our mobiles. 

How can we use the zoom app on our Mobile devices:

Best video calling apps

The mobile version of this app is a more simplified one that I am saying cause, I use it for attending my online classes. The mobile version of the zoom app can be found on Android, I-Pad and Android. The setup of the mobile version is limited due to less space therefore we can find the main tabs at the bottom: Meet and chat, Meetings, Contacts and settings. So, lets dive into how can we use the app on our mobiles.

Step 1- The main options which can be found on the top are: New meetings, Share-screen, join schedule. “Meet and chat option” combines the desktop “HOME” and the “CHAT tabs”.

You will see recent chat history and recent calls, along with the outstanding contact requests. Tap to view the chat with any contact or accept the contact requests. Tap to view the chat with any contact or accept the request. You can also tap the star icon on the top left corner to view your favorites on the pencil icon on the top-left corner to drag a new message.

Step 2- You can start a call, send invitations, edit the current event at the top of the page.

“Meeting” shows a line-up of upcoming events and then also you can perform all the task mentioned above.

Your personal “Meeting-id” is a unique to start individual meetings. Tap on the upcoming events to view its details or delete it entirely. Tap on a meeting id and you will also find an option to add invites or send invitations to these contacts via email or text message.

Step 3-The contact tab in the mobile version looks very similar to the desktop version. You can search for contacts on the top of the page by clicking the plus symbol on the top-right corner to open in order to add contacts, create a new channel or join a public one. You can also toggle between contacts and channels at the top.

Contacts are individual people while channels are a group of these contacts.

Step 4- Then finally, you can access “settings” to make any changes to your account. Your zoom settings are organized by meetings, chats, contacts and general. You can also add Siri shortcuts.

You can make changes to your profile, tap your profile, tap your name at the top the screen, where you can change your profile photo, display name, or update your password. This is also where you can sign out of zoom app.

We cannot ignore the news that users on the zoom app are facing serious security breaches, so let know and discuss what is “zoom bombing” and what alternatives can be used.

Trolls are exploiting zoom app settings as app has started gaining popularity.

What is zoom bombing? 

zoom boombing

The uninvited guests abusing the popular video services to broadcast shocking imagery to all is know being referred to as “zoom bombing”.

Working, socializing with our colleagues and staying in touch with our family with help of popular video devices has brought new risks to everyday life.

I am saying this because WebCam meetings and Chats are now contend with invasions, phishing attacks and invasions.

Popular zoom hangouts have now a days become a popular platform for spending time for isolated remote workers, who are joining calls with the name “WTF Happy Hour” to spend time in the company of others.

Trolls can wreak havoc cause the default settings of the app are configured in the expectation on the trust between participants. Some zoom bombers have used the screen sharing to broadcast pornography and violent images that could harms sentiments of a particular beliefs of the people.

The security experts are saying the saying the file transfer feature that is switched on by default could be used to spread malware.

Newton, a journalist told the TechCrunch cause when he was participating in a meeting on this app, a troll joined the group and used the screen sharing feature to air a pornographic clip to the calls of 40 participants. As the call was public the anonymous user simply rejoined and continued to broadcast eventually forcing the users, the host, the Hunter walk and Casey Newton to close an event.

Then afterwards Newton told to the TechCrunch: “I want to apologise to all our attendies-including my parents, Jim and Sally who joined the WFH Happy hour today for the first time. Today we all learnt important lesson about disabling screen sharing and saw once again the importance of good content moderation.”

Other “zoom bombing” instances are more malicious. Ru and Shawn Benjamin told the NBC news told the experience when a racist troll- wearing nothing but a Gate-crashed their reading sessions for children stuck at home and began repeating the N- word multiple times. “Then we knew it was a malicious targeted thing. My husband and I are both African American Ruha Benjamin said”.

Some news reports in the recent week said that service iOS app was sending analytics data to Facebooks, even if the users don’t have a Facebook account.

In a blogpost addressing the rise in zoom bombings, the company said “Like most other public forums, it’s possible to have a person who may or may not be invited to disrupt an event that’s meant to bring people together.” It offered a list of tips on how to prevent them, such as not posting links on social media platforms if possible.

But none of these concerns have hampered the fortunes of ZOOM video, the company behind the software. This app has become the third-most paid-app on Apple store . The Chat service in the zoom app is free.

Best Alternatives for the ZOOM video app service:

Best video calling apps

As there are number of complaints regarding the use of Zoom privacy and security record of late and also mentioned above.

We have made a list of some free alternatives for the free video conferencing app ZOOM, so that we can stay in touch with our friends, families and colleagues during COVID- 19 outbreak and stay safe at home.

The first in our list is mentioned down below:

SKYPE MEET NOW (best for Group chats):

Skype meet now

Skype has a go-to platform  for one to one conversations .It has a feature Meet Now that can be accessed by “Meet Now” feature on the top left of the app which allows video conferencing but the number of people depend upon the what device you are using and according to the company. This platform lets you record, save and share your video calls and can support up to 50 people on the same audio calls.

Key points

  • Lets you record video calls for up to one month.
  • Can blurr the background if you are using the app.
  • You can share your representations.
  • It has easy-to use interface.

CISCO WEBEX:

cisco app

The WEBEX video conferencing app has been around since the 90’s and was taken over by CISCO since 2007.

Though this app is mainly used as a business application and is currently serving a lot of companies.

It has a fairly generous free version that’s worth checking out.

For the current emergency, it has widened the version of freemium version from 50 to 100 participants and has gotton ridden off the 40-minute limit on meetings, and added call- in abilities.

Key points:

  • Up to 100 participants can take part
  • Unlimited timing for each meeting sessions.
  • Call-in audio feature

STARLEAF:

Star leaf  best video calling apps

If you are not in company you may have not heard of the Star leaf feature -the kind where the don’t quote a price on their website; you have to call a salesperson. But, the Good news is that it is offering basic video and messaging product free of charge for those trying to keep in touch in the pandemic.

Key points:

  • Up to 20 participants.
  • Forty-six minutes foreach meetings.

JITSI MEET:

jitsi meet app

JITSI MEET is open-source platform that helps you meet online by simply navigating to site by simply navigating to the site and clicking on “Go”. If you are more technically inclined, you can build your own vie Jitsu Video bridge, but most people will be happy with the quick version, which offers many web features found in more-well known apps, such as chat, sessions recordings(to drop box) and ability to “kick out” unruly participants.

Key points:

  • Up to 75 participants (up to 35 for best experience)
  • Public or private chat.
  • Can blurr the background.
  • Integrates with slack, google calender and office 365.

HANGOUTS:

The classic version of the Hangout is still available, although it is not being touted by the company but its sort of fun to go to the Hangouts. The company is currently promoting Google MEET for G suite users and corporate customers.You can video chat with up to 20 participants. It doesn’t have a lot of additional features but you can chat and share screen and that all about it.

Key points:

  • Up to 10 participants.
  • Voice conversations can have upto 150 participants.

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