<disclaimer>This is not a new thing</disclaimer>. A lot of people use some form of “Video Conferencing” already for both professional and personal reasons / situations.
With all the Social Distancing we all have been having to do, some of my friends decided that we would try to compare a few of the options that was available. So far we have tried Skype and Messenger. The consensus so far has been in favor of Messenger. But there are a few options that we still have not tried. Some of these are:
- Apple Group FaceTime
- Google Hangouts Meet
The first 3 are from me, which is why they are at the top, and the rest are ones the group had mentioned at some point. I have used all of these at various points but Webex and Zoom in professional environment only. I have used both Slack and Google Hangouts Meet in professional and personal situations while Apple Group FaceTime exclusively in personal situations.
The primary objective so far has been:
- Ease of use
- Number of participants allowed
- Quality of the Audio / Video
We have also talked about the ability to “Present” (i.e, Screen Share) that we might be looking into at some point.
Apple Group FaceTime – Requires an Apple ID and an Apple Device. Number of user is limited to 64. I have only tried 3.
Google Hangouts Meet – Someone has to have a Google / Gmail account and anyone can be invited to join. A personal Gmail account allows a limited number of users but no limit on how long to use. On a mobile device, i.e., Phone, the Hangout App is required.
Slack – A Paid Subscription is needed. Probably not as commonly found on most peoples’ devices, i.e., Adoption.
Messenger – The quality of the Video does not necessarily start off the best but it does seem to settle to pretty good after a few minutes. Users do seem to get dropped off from time to time (which we are still not sure is not caused by the user). But getting back in seems fairly trivial.
The best part of Messenger was that everyone seemed to have it on their device of choice and they all knew how to use the tool.
Skype – On my Mac Laptop the resource consumption was very high. Which for me was a big negative. I forget what some of the other issues were.
Webex – no one seems to have used this beyond a professional env.
UberConference – Limited to 10 users and 50 min for the Free usage.
Zoom – limitations, requires a download. Unsure of mobile device support
Ease of Use – Not having to install something. Not having to sign up for another account. Familiarity with the tool