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TeK tip: 6 video call apps to keep "in touch" with friends, family and colleagues without leaving home

At a time when staying at home most days is the new "normal" for many Portuguese, video calls are often the choice to keep conversations with friends, family and co-workers. In this article we bring together various applications and online tools that help you to be "connected" even in social isolation, regardless of the reasons, be they professional or personal.

From the Zoom platform, whose app is already in trend, to the typical Hangouts, the suggestions are intended to help you keep in touch with colleagues and friends, but without running the risk of becoming infected or of infecting someone with the new Coronavirus. In addition, the social networks Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp also have features that allow you to make video calls, however, they are more limited.

Know the suggestions of video call services.

Speak by video call and messages up to 50 people with Zoom

Zoom combines video conferencing in the cloud, online meetings, group messaging and a software conference room solution on a single platform, both online and on mobile.

In Portugal, and as a distance learning platform, made available by the National Scientific Computing Unit of the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT-FCCN). Ideal for groups with many people, the system allows up to 50 people to chat on the platform.

In the case of a video conference system with audio, video and chat, the platform also allows the sharing of screens, documents and multimedia applications. In addition, users can also exchange messages between participants via instant messaging.

If you don't want to miss anything that was said in the video call, you can record sessions on the platform or in the cloud, with the possibility of downloading. As far as possible accounts are concerned, in addition to students from schools and universities, there are two.

The basic account allows you to hold an indefinite number of meetings with a maximum limit of 50 participants and 40 minutes per meeting. The premium makes it possible to hold an indeterminate number of meetings with a maximum limit of 50 participants, with no duration limit.

The platform is available on the official website, but also on the App Store and Google Play Store.


Are you working from home? Keep in touch with colleagues through Join.me

If you need to keep in touch with your work team even at a distance, Join.me can be a useful tool. In addition to video calls, you can also share your screen and even use a virtual whiteboard to point out all useful ideas.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), teleworking has in fact become the daily reality of many workers. Meetings through videoconferencing have thus become a way to keep in touch. Like Microsoft's Zoom, Join.me is an online tool that promises to keep communication between team members even at a distance.

The videoconferencing tool is especially targeted at smaller teams, allowing the participation of 10 users per meeting. With a simple and organized interface, Join.me allows screen sharing with participants. The tool also has a kind of virtual whiteboard where team members can brainstorm or point out useful ideas.

Users of the Google Chrome browser can install the Join.me extension to facilitate access to the tool. Thinking of those who prefer to participate in a video call using their smartphone, Join.me also offers a mobile application for Android and iOS.

In addition to a free plan, the online tool has paid options, which are more oriented to large companies, allowing, for example, to make a video call with 250 participants. To start a meeting you just need to create an account on the Join.me website. Once registered, you just need to send the video call link to your team members.


Chat and play with your friends. With the Houseparty app you can have a "party" at home

One of the games allows you, for example, to test your drawing skills with friends in a video call.

In these days when many Portuguese have chosen to stay at home, the usual coffee with friends or family gatherings has been replaced by video calls. The Houseparty app is a good option for those who want to keep the conversation up to date and, at the same time, have fun, with the app allowing them to play with the people they are making video calls with.

Since WhatsApp is limited to four people in a video call, the HouseParty app allows more people to chat in a single application. On the other hand, more than chatting, you can play with your friends or family.

From quizzes to drawing games, there are four options on the table. To do this, just click on the data icon in the upper right corner of the application and venture out with your friends or family.

The application is free and available on the Google Play Store and the App Store.


Google Duo: the Googlevide appcalls up to eight people

The application of video calls from Google has already been considered Facetime for Android and since the beginning of March it has a video version in HD, but only for those who have 5G.

The app has been improved and supports group calls, up to eight people, allowing users to connect Android and iOS users on mobile phones and computers. Like an answering machine, you can leave video messages, even in low light you can record the image, but if you want you can also make voice calls only.

The application is an alternative to WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger and can be downloaded for free from the Google Play store for Android, and the App Store for iOS.


Veedeeo an automatic translation system for video conferences

The solution is integrated into the company's cloud solution and does not require plugins or additional software installations. The company guarantees 95% accuracy in the more than 120 languages ??supported.

The Portuguese company VeeDeeo launched an automatic translation solution for video calls for meetings, for example, with support for 120 languages ??without the need for an interpreter. The company guarantees automatic subtitles in the defined language, with a degree of accuracy of around 95%. The objective is to bring teams, customers and partners together in a videoconference, each speaking in their native language.

As explained, automatic translation can be activated in the virtual room created for the videoconference session, with each participant simply having to define their language. The system is based on Google's speech-to-text technology, which uses AI and machine learning to detect and transcribe the voice. Veedeeo allows different conversion scenarios, such as video-meetings, 1-on-1 and multipoint.

tek veedeeo

Carlos Tavares, Veedeeo's CEO, believes that the tool is an asset at the level of companies with businesses and offices abroad, streamlining communication between the stakeholders, when they are natives of other countries.

Veedeeo can be tested for free through registration on its official website.


Stay in touch with colleagues, friends and family through Hangouts

You can talk to up to 25 people on video calls, but on the platform that requires a Google account you can still exchange messages or phone calls.

Google Hangouts was first announced in March 2017 and has since undergone some changes. The service currently allows you to make video calls, phone calls and exchange messages, provided you have a Google account.

Automatically synchronizing with your gmail contacts, the platform allows message conversations for up to 150 people. Video calls can have up to 10 participants or 25, in the case of business and education accounts.

The Google service is available in the web and mobile version, for Android and iOS.