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There’s a problem with traditional video conferencing clients. Though they are in abundance, they’re only remotely useful if all parties are collectively using the same client. Popular services such as VoxOX, ooVoo, IMO and, of course, Skype and Google Hangouts all have this problem, thus putting a damper on quick collaboration 10+ No-Signup Collaboration Tools You Can Use in 10 Seconds 10+ No-Signup Collaboration Tools You Can Use in 10 Seconds Collaborating online can save you and your team both time and money. Collaborating quickly can save a bit more. These tools are ready to go when you are. No registration required. Read More .

One “solution” to this is to have accounts for them all, which is something I used to do. The best solution, however, is to use one of the many free video conferencing websites that don’t require an account for hosting your online meeting Online Meeting Guide: Software And Strategy Online Meeting Guide: Software And Strategy Modern videoconferencing services are easy to use, and available to nearly anyone with a computer or smartphone. The ability to connect and meet with people online means we're no longer limited by geographical location. Read More  .

All of these services have a unique link you can easily share in an email, text message or on social media. Many even have additional functions and features such as custom links, chat, screen sharing, allowing more than two parties and locking rooms so no one else can enter.

Note about WebRTC

1 WebRTC

Many of these video conferencing services are built on WebRTC (real time communication) framework. This is an emerging standard that is currently compatible with all Chrome, newer versions of Firefox, and most recently Opera Opera 18 Brings WebRTC For Desktop, Redesigned For Android Tablets Opera 18 Brings WebRTC For Desktop, Redesigned For Android Tablets Opera just got better with the launch of Opera 18 for both desktop and Android. On the desktop, it brings support for WebRTC and getUserMedia, along with themes. Read More browsers. Internet Explorer and Safari also support WebRTC Here's How to Make Internet Explorer and Safari Work with WebRTC Here's How to Make Internet Explorer and Safari Work with WebRTC Would you like to hear a secret? It's a big one. Are you sure you can handle it? Okay, here goes. There are other web browsers besides Google Chrome. Read More with some additional work.

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What about mobile browsers Five Android Browsers That Are A Cut Above The Rest Five Android Browsers That Are A Cut Above The Rest While there are many browsers on the Google Play Store, only a few provide an overall great experience. Read More ? As long as you’re using Chrome, Firefox or Opera on your Android or iOS device, you can use most WebRTC-based services. When “mobile support” or “mobile browsers” is mentioned, these are the three being referred to.

GoToMeeting Free (previously Hu.tt)

2.1 GoToMeeting Free - Home

GoToMeeting has long established itself as a professional video conferencing service, used widely by businesses everywhere. What you may not know is that they now have a free tool. They very recently acquired Hu.tt, which we mentioned not too long ago in an article about simple ways to share stuff on the web 10 Incredibly Simple Ways To Share Stuff On The Web While Saving Time 10 Incredibly Simple Ways To Share Stuff On The Web While Saving Time Sharing should be simple. What could be better than to take our hunt for free seconds to some "time shaving" online services that make sharing a simpler job than it is. Read More . From a professional standpoint, GoToMeeting is a no-brainer. People recognize the name and the interface is clean and intuitive.

2.2 GoToMeeting Free - Schedule meeting

GoToMeeting Free has some great features, but don’t expect to get a platter full – they still want to promote their pro service. I do understand some of the “cons” such as limiting the number of users, however, the strangely named custom links can be confusing when sharing with someone. Also, if you want to claim a specific link or customize your username, you have to sign in with Facebook or Google. This is different from creating an account, however, and these features are still free.

2.3 GoToMeeting Free  - Call

Pros

  • Professional appearance and trustworthy
  • Shareable link
  • Schedule a meeting (browser extension required)
  • Share documents
  • Share screens (browser extension required)
  • Full-screen mode
  • Chat
  • Claim a room by signing in with Facebook/Google

Cons

  • Custom links are strange and potentially confusing
  • Must Sign in with Facebook/Google to change your username
  • No mobile browser support – must download app
  • Only allows up to 3 users

Firefox Hello

3.1 firefox hello - home

In January, we shared several new features in Firefox’s latest browser Meet Firefox Hello Video Chat & Firefox Marketplace In The New Firefox 35 Meet Firefox Hello Video Chat & Firefox Marketplace In The New Firefox 35 Firefox 35 introduces a cross-platform video chat service called Firefox Hello, lets users beta-test the new Firefox Marketplace, and also bakes in social sharing on the web. Read More update, one of which is Firefox Hello.

3.2 firefox hello - chrome

Firefox Hello isn’t just for Firefox though. You and your friend can use any WebRTC-compatible browser. If you are a Firefox user, it’s already built in. There aren’t any extra features like text chat, but it’s simple, easy to use, and a great option if you only want to talk with one person.

Pros

  • Supports all WebRTC-compatible browsers
  • Mobile browser support
  • Fullscreen/pop-out mode

Cons

  • No more than two parties allowed
  • No extra features
  • No text chat

vLine

4.1 vLine - Home

vLine is a simple video chat client with a modern interface that is a breeze to use. Just click the green “Go” button, enter your name and your video conference will start. Then share that link with up to three other people (4 total) for the best quality and experience. The interface is clean, but simple and doesn’t come with any extras, which could be a good thing if video conferencing is all you need.

Have more questions about vLine? They have a very helpful FAQ page with questions about call security, mobile use, call scheduling, etc.

4.2 vline - call invite

Pros

  • Mobile browser support
  • Full-screen mode
  • Built on WebRTC

Cons

  • No extra features
  • No text chat
  • No ability to customize the link

Talky

5.1 Talky - Home

Talky is built on open-source technologies of both SimpleWebRTC and their own Otalk platform. It allows up to 5 people in the conversation, screen sharing, custom links, password-protected sessions and is mobile friendly.

5.2 Talky - Call

But the best feature? Playing Lander while you wait for guests to join. Boom.

5.3 Talky - Lander

There aren’t any negatives to Talky besides it not having chat, although that isn’t a huge issue.

Pros

  • Up to 5 people
  • Customizable links
  • Play the Lander game while you wait
  • Screen sharing (requires browser extension)
  • Locked rooms
  • Based on open-source platforms, SimpleWebRTC and Otalk
  • Mobile browser support
  • Put call “on hold”
  • iOS app

Cons

  • No chat (not much of a con)

Appear.in

6.1 appear.in - home

We’ve already raved about Appear.in as a competitor to Google Plus Move Over Google Plus Hangouts. Appear.in Is Here & It's Really Good Move Over Google Plus Hangouts. Appear.in Is Here & It's Really Good People have been crying out for a decent video conferencing app for ages. We thought that was Google Plus. We were wrong. Meet Appear.in. Read More , Skype, and other services alike. As Matt shares in his article, there hasn’t been a solid video conferencing tool for some time. The “popular” ones have several issues or just aren’t convenient. All of the services mentioned in this article could be a solution to that, but Appear.in is, dare I say, superior.

The intuitive design, call quality and abundance of additional features, make it easy to argue that it is one of the best free video calling services. In fact, you can now add Appear.in’s video conferencing facilities to any website Appear.in Now Lets You Add Video Conferencing Facilities To Any Website Appear.in Now Lets You Add Video Conferencing Facilities To Any Website Simply put, it is now possible to integrate Appear.in within your own website and blog. But why should you care? Read More .

6.2 appear.in - call

Pros

  • Customizable links
  • Lock rooms
  • Screen sharing (requires browser extension)
  • Claim rooms upon creating an account
  • Slack and HipChat integration
  • Up to 8 people
  • Built on WebRTC
  • iOS app
  • Claim and customize a room by signing in
  • Mobile browser support
  • Chat

Cons

  • None

Gruveo

7.1 gruveo - home

If you don’t need as many options or the capability to talk to multiple parties, Gruveo is a good choice. Once both parties agree on a “custom code” for the call, the call starts. That code goes at the end of the URL. And you don’t need to worry about others coming into your call since it maxes out at two.

7.2 Gruveo - call

Pros

  • Voice-only option
  • Customizable links
  • iOS app
  • Built on WebRTC
  • Full screen mode
  • ChatMobile browser support
  • Mobile browser support

Cons

  • No more than two parties allowed

Room

8.1 room - home

For a more corporate, yet modern approach, you might find Room attractive due to the option to upload files directly from Dropbox and integration with Slack and Flowdock (team collaboration apps). Room allows up to 4 users to talk at a time and includes text chat, screen sharing, an iOS app, and is compatible with Android browsers.

One thing I always look for when trying a new service is a Help or FAQ page for quick answers to questions. I couldn’t find either of these on Room. You also can’t customize your video conferencing links and you must sign in to change your username.

8.2 room - call

Pros

  • Screen sharing (requires extension)
  • Allows 4 people total
  • Text chat
  • iOS app
  • Integration with Slack and Flowdock
  • Dropbox integration
  • Mobile browser support

Cons

  • Sign up to change username
  • No customizable links
  • No apparent FAQ/help page

Rabbit

9.1 rabbit - home

Previously a Mac-only video conferencing service, Rabbit changed their direction to be accessible by all users, from any platform. They do this through the popular WebRTC framework. Rabbit allows an impressive 10 users to connect at once – more than any other service that I know of. Its focus is on “more than just video calling” and aims at “sharing content online”, from slideshows to videos and music to virtually any Internet-based media.

9.2 rabbit - call

More options are being added as Rabbit grows. Screen sharing isn’t currently available, but I’d be surprised if this wasn’t added eventually. A significant negative is the lack of mobile browser support. There’s no iOS app either. This stifles who you can connect with at any time. Still, the rapidly growing progress and modern interface show that Rabbit is a video conferencing service to watch!

9.3 rabbit - call

Pros

  • Chat
  • Share anything from the web
  • Chat with up to 10 people
  • Based on WebRTC

Cons

  • Must sign up for custom URL
  • No mobile browser support (in progress as of this writing)

GetARoom.io

10.1 getaroom.io

GetARoom.io is about as simple and modern as video calling gets. Just click the “Start a new call” button and share the unique link with up to 3 others. Like most other WebRTC-based services, GetARoom.io works on mobile browsers Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.

10.2 getaroom.io - call

Pros

  • Up to 4 people
  • Lock room
  • Streamlined and simple
  • WebRTC and SkylinkJS
  • Mobile browser support

Cons

  • Few “extra features”
  • No ability to customize link
  • No text chat

Try Them All!

Keep in mind that these services could end or change at any time, especially because they’re free and sometimes just a developer’s side project. In fact, two examples of this happened between the time of gathering the research for this article and writing it. Meetings.io has now been converted to a mobile-only app and renamed JiveChime. Meet.fm has since eliminated their free plan completely and transitioned to a free trial.

But this can also happen to services you sign up and pay for, which is much more of a loss for you as the end user. This is why having several options to choose from is important.

The great thing is you don’t have to decide which one you like best. Feel free to try them all!

Do you have a preference or personal experience with any of these? We welcome your own insight in the comments!

Image Credit: Tsahi Levent-Levi

  1. Guy
    October 9, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    Which open source video that supports Safari and Explorer that does't require any installation would you recommend?

  2. Guy
    October 9, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    With service would you recommend if I am looking for an open source video chat that supports both Safari and Explorer without installation?

  3. Jane
    April 3, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    Aaron, thank you for highlighting Rabbit! We increased the limit last week so you can chat with 15 friends at once, and there are a bunch of exciting things - including mobile browser - in the hopper (pun intended!).

    • Aaron Couch
      April 4, 2015 at 3:12 am

      Thanks for replying in the comments, Jane! That helps keep the readers informed.

      Good to hear about those new and upcoming features.

      Keep hoppin'!

  4. muba
    April 3, 2015 at 9:02 am

    thx for the list, there is also distraction free: https://apprtc.appspot.com/

  5. Art Matsak
    April 2, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Thank you for featuring Gruveo, Aaron! Limiting the service to one-on-one calling was a deliberate choice to keep things as simple as possible. We are hard at work at adding new features to Gruveo, so expect some exciting announcements from us this year :)

    • Aaron Couch
      April 2, 2015 at 2:33 pm

      I know it was, Art :-) And there is absolutely no problem with simple. Keep creating a great service!

  6. Jerry Kocis
    April 1, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    I like Meetingburner (https://www.meetingburner.com/). The free version has no ads, a maximum of 10 attendees, screensharing, video streaming, plus many other features; and it's compatible with Windows and Mac.

    • Aaron Couch
      April 2, 2015 at 5:07 am

      MeetingBurner looks pretty good, Jerry, but I can't seem to find an option to instantly start a video call – do you have to create an account? If so, that kind of negates the versatility of being able to video chat with anyone.

      Perhaps when you have an account you can invite others and they just input the ID number? That's an OK option, but there are faster ones available.

      Still, it does seem good. Thanks for sharing your own experience and recommendation!

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