Zoom has risen to the top as one of the most used video call apps as the coronavirus has spread around the globe. It’s cross-platform, free, and easy to set up calls for businesses and well as individuals. However, it has seen some serious security and privacy flaws (now fixed). For those looking for some good Zoom alternatives, follow along after the break for a range of choices for both business and personal use.
Update 5/14: We’ve seen the video call space change significantly over the last month. Notably, Zoom has followed through on its plan to improve security and privacy but there are also more options than ever before.
Zoom: After announcing a plan to fix its issues, Zoom has followed through with providing notable security and privacy updates in April and May. The company taking its previous flaws seriously and addressing them may be enough to win back the trust of some users.
Facebook’s Messenger Rooms: Previously only available as a limited release and only for up to 8 people at a time, Messenger Rooms is now available for everyone and supports video calls up to 50 people.
FaceTime update: One of the criticisms that FaceTime has gotten over the last few months is that the floating faces user interface can be quite distracting, especially for fast-paced conversations or meetings.
With iOS 13.5 (in beta with the public release expected soon) it’s possible to stop the moving faces. Read more in our tutorial here.
FaceTime offers a great experience and full end-to-end encryption but unfortunately, it’s limited to Apple devices. My colleague Ben Lovejoy actually just wrote a great opinion piece about now being the perfect time for Apple to expand FaceTime to Android and Windows.
So while FaceTime is a preferred option for small group calls between all Apple users, it can’t deliver as a viable solution for business calls or even larger calls between friends and family.
Group FaceTime on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac supports video calls up to 32 people.
And if you’re looking for a way to eliminate background noise from whatever app or service you use, check out my colleague’s review of Krisp.
Skype & Microsoft Teams
If you’re looking for a solid alternative to for calls up to 50 people, Skype is a nice cross-platform option. It’s free, has a much better track record than Zoom for security and privacy, and is owned by Microsoft.
Update 4/3: Skype has been updated so no account or download is required and users can start a link-based video call in one click.
If you need a more business-focused solution that integrates more than just chat, Microsoft Teams is a viable option.
Here you’re getting chat, video calls, and integration of Microsofts other software products to collaborate. Naturally, this is most conducive for businesses who are already using other Microsoft software products like Office 365.
Microsoft Teams starts from $5/month per user. Check out more details on Microsoft’s website.
Google Hangouts Meet and Google Duo
If you’re a business that’s invested in Google’s software, Hangouts Meet is the alternative to Zoom or Microsoft Teams you’ll want to check out.
Notably, Google made a change due to the global pandemic that gives all G Suite users the premium version of Hangouts Meet for free:
Starting this week, we will begin rolling out free access to our advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally including:
- Larger meetings, for up to 250 participants per call
- Live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain
- The ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive
Outside of the free temporary upgrade, Hangouts Meet for businesses and organization is including with G Suite plans which run from $6/month per user.
On the consumer side, Duo would be the free FaceTime/Skype competitor from Google.
Cisco Webex, TeamViewer, GoToMeeting, open-sourced Jitsi, more
These options would be more comparable to Zoom as they are independent of software suites from Google or Microsoft.
- Cisco Webex for business runs from $13.50/ a month per host
- TeamViewer for business is priced from $50/month per host
- GoToMeeting for business runs from $12/month per host
Notably, Cisco Webex just upgraded its free tier and is doing two more deals for paid plans:
- Upgraded Free plan
- First month free when you sign up for a paid monthly plan
- Four months free when purchasing an annual plan
Some other options from smaller developers that could be worth checking out include:
Have another good Zoom alternative that we didn’t mention? Share it in the comments below!
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