Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Advertisement

Apps like FaceTime have made video calling between two people instant and easy. Don't Forget You Can Make & Receive FaceTime Calls On Your Mac Don't Forget You Can Make & Receive FaceTime Calls On Your Mac Apple's FaceTime is seen in many of its commercials, but some Mac users may not realize that the application is also available for use on their desktop computer. Read More Not so long ago, setting up a video chat between several parties was a big pain in the neck, but that’s thankfully changed.

Nobody wants to download a bunch of software How To Invite Someone To a Video Conference Over Email How To Invite Someone To a Video Conference Over Email Lots of us use video conferencing, either to catch up with friends, or when being interviewed for a job. But how do you invite people to a video conference over email? Read More , work with a complicated system, or pay money to join a group conference call. We’ve got good news: There are several awesome, simple services that you can use for personal video conference calls that don’t cost anything.

1. Appear.in

Appear.in offers about the simplest video conferencing you can imagine. Visit the site and you can create a chatroom with the URL of your choice. Then, just send that link to your friends through text, email, or any other means and they’ll instantly join you. There’s no software to download and any modern browser will work fine.

The service allows up to eight people in one room. You can “lock” a room if you’re the owner, which requires guests to “knock” when they visit the link. This lets you see who’s trying to join and deny them if you see fit. Screen sharing and text chat (with stickers!) are included — it’s as simple as that.

While other tools offer more functionality, Appear.in is your best choice for quick, simple meetings with no set-up. It’s perfect for chatting with folks who aren’t tech-savvy.

Advertisement

2. ooVoo

ooVoo has been around for a while, but it’s resurrected into quite an impressive form recently. Still free of charge, the service now features apps for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and even Windows Phone and Amazon Fire Phone. It’s not available in browser, so ooVoo geared towards groups who all use the app instead of ad-hoc meetings like Appear.in.

Included with ooVoo are high-quality 12-person video calls (with the option to record), text chat, and even the ability to watch YouTube videos together 5 Great Tools To Watch Movies On YouTube Simultaneously With Friends 5 Great Tools To Watch Movies On YouTube Simultaneously With Friends Who doesn't like to just kick back with friends, watch a movie and have some laughs? Experience all the fun of the cinema without leaving your house by using video synchronization websites. Read More using the Windows app. If your friends are already on ooVoo or wouldn’t mind trying it out, it’s a great choice for casual video calls.

3. FreeConference

True to its name, FreeConference offers powerful video conference calls at no cost. You’ll find more business-oriented features on this service than the others, such as dial-in numbers for audio participants. FreeConference lets you schedule meetings and send out reminders automatically, but you can also start meetings instantly if you don’t need advance notice.

Calls feature screen sharing as well as moderator controls so you can easily mute noisy callers. You’ll also receive summaries of meetings once they’re done, and can keep track of your meetings with the mobile calling apps Best Smartphone Apps for Free Cross-Platform Video Calls Best Smartphone Apps for Free Cross-Platform Video Calls It doesn't matter your platform -- from Mac to PC to Android and everything in between -- one of these apps will let you make video calls. Read More .

The free plan is limited to 400 audio callers, 10 users in the online meeting, and 3 people broadcasting video. You’ll have to upgrade to a paid plan to raise those numbers and add features like call recording Is It Legal to Record Phone Calls? Is It Legal to Record Phone Calls? Planning on recording phone calls? It's relatively easy, but is it legal? It's best to check your local laws for specific regulations, as they can differ from state to state, country to country. Read More , but you shouldn’t need them for personal use.

4. Voxeet

Another service with a business focus, Voxeet prides itself on its proprietary TrueVoice technology that brings crisp, clean voice quality to calls. This claims to bring concert-hall quality with no static or dropped words, which is great for important calls. Guests can easily join calls from their browser with no PIN calls or call-in numbers.

This is just the beginning of Voxeet’s abilities, though. Its Time Zone Ninja tool makes scheduling in multiple time zones easier See The Exact Time, and 4 More Awesome Time Tools See The Exact Time, and 4 More Awesome Time Tools Time is what we always have less of. Let's look at a few sites that show you what time it is around the world – and what you should be doing with your time. Read More , and you can schedule regular meetings for the same time every week. Another interesting feature, Whisper Mode, lets you have a side conversation with someone during the main call.

If you regularly organize meetings among friends and need a wide set of features, Voxeet is worth a look.

5. Skype / Skype for Business Basic

No list of video calling apps could be complete without Skype, if for no other reason than many people you know likely already use it. Using apps for Android/iOS, Windows/Mac, or just in your browser, Skype lets you connect with your friends for easy video calls. Screen sharing is supported as well.

A maximum of 25 people can join an audio call, but Skype vaguely says that the maximum number of video callers varies by device. Note that Skype’s fair usage policy holds that a group video call can only last for four hours. You shouldn’t have any problem calling with ten or so friends, as long as each has a strong internet connection.

If you need a more business-focused solution, Skype for Business Basic offers the fundamentals of the Skype for Business platform, including Free/Busy status and meeting support. For most people, though, regular Skype should be sufficient.

6. FreeConferenceCall

Though close in name, this tool is different from the aforementioned FreeConference. FreeConferenceCall boasts the largest number of participants by far, with support for a staggering 1,000 people. Screen sharing comes standard, and the service offers several apps to expand your experience as well. Guests simply have to enter a meeting ID into the website to join instantly.

FreeConferenceCall is the closest free substitute for GoToMeeting How to Give an Online Presentation from Anywhere How to Give an Online Presentation from Anywhere Do you work with a global team or from home? The ability to give a presentation in real-time is a professional need. Here are five tools to present from anywhere in the world. Read More on this list. Paid features like annotation, switching the presenter mid-call, screen recording, and even radio streaming all come free. You’ll probably never have 1,000 people in a call, but this tool is absolutely worth a try if you’re serious about your meetings.

How Do You Hold Meetings?

These six tools offer different feature set for varying user needs. If you just want to hold a quickly family call, it doesn’t get much easier than Appear.in. Friend groups can take advantage of ooVoo’s fun options. Skype is great because almost everyone uses it, while FreeConferenceCall, FreeConference, and Voxeet bring business-level features to personal calls for free.

For more options, check out WhatsApp video calling WhatsApp Video Calling: Everything You Need to Know WhatsApp Video Calling: Everything You Need to Know This year, the new addition to WhatsApp is video calling. It was a beta feature until last month, but now it's officially released for everyone and all platforms. Read More . It didn’t make this list because it doesn’t allow for group video calls yet.

Which free video conferencing service is your favorite? Let us know what you use these tools for in the comments, and share the most participants you’ve ever had in a meeting!

Image Credit: Andrey_Popov via Shutterstock.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Baptiste
    March 6, 2016 at 4:48 am

    Great article! I would add to the list Voxeet.com -HD audio, collaboration tools and free! Available on PC Mac, iOS and Android.

  2. John
    March 23, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    ooVoo just changed their free version to only host 3 people for video conferencing. You have to pay for 6 people conferencing.

  3. Lafeeu
    March 12, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    The Beta ooVoo for Mac OSX is available (oovoomac.smnr.us/). We use it at work.

  4. Chris Abraham
    January 19, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Thanks, Saul. So, long story short, it *is* developed and published by ooVoo but it isn't on the site yet because it is only the alpha version. However, it is supported by ooVoo itself in the ooVoo forums. So, check it out: http://oovoomac.smnr.us/ I guess the gang at ooVoo are interested in the version getting tested and well-used but they are also interested in not making it official as a wildly-available version. My team pretty much has access to this version as an exclusive for this online outreach, you being someone we think would really be able to use it. Does that do a pretty good job of explaining it?

  5. Saul
    January 18, 2008 at 8:44 am

    Hey Aibek,

    I don't know if I would call it the "official" version - it is only and Alpha version but the version was developed by ooVoo. They will be coming out with the beta version hopefully some time in the near future. In the mean time check out the Mac version and let us know if you have any feedback on it.

    Thanks for the write up and for the questions.

  6. Chris Abraham
    January 16, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Thank you for the kind mention on your blog! I wanted to hook you up with access to the Mac version for you to try out -- so please let your readers know that ooVoo for the Mac is available in Alpha over at http://oovoomac.smnr.us -- let me know if you have any question... other that that, there's a new version coming down the pike pretty soon. I will try to let you know when it is available.

    • Aibek
      January 17, 2008 at 9:14 am

      Thanks for heads up. Just wondering, is it official Mac version ?