Zoom Alternative: Best Video Calling Apps to try while WFH
Social Media has its perils and pitfalls, the biggest one being privacy. The latest culprit seems to be the Zoom video conferencing app. If you’re unaware, Zoom’s popularity has seen a sudden spike ever since the Covid-19 lockdown was enforced across several countries. Zoom stands apart from its peers as it allows up to 100 participants and unlimited one-to-one meetings. However, it has come to light that the app is sending user data to Facebook, even if the user doesn’t have a FB account.
In its report, Vice’s Motherboard had shared its finding that Zoom utilizes Facebook Software Development Kits for delivering certain features. Now, the problem is that by using this SDK, it de facto shares the user’s data too. And that apparently happens even if that user doesn’t have an account on Facebook. It’s all undocumented and unsolicited. Blimey!
Update: Zoom has reportedly removed that code responsible for this data leak. (Source: Vice)
The data elements being channeled to Facebook servers comprised of when the user opened Zoom, their phone model, device’s advertising ID, telecom operator name, time zone, and city.
Further, there are a few more issues underlined in the report, which are as follows:
- Hosts in Zoom calls can see whether chat windows of participants are open.
- Administrators can also see IP address, location data and device information of each participant.
So, if you want to zoom out and move to some other alternatives, here are a few you should give a shot!
Best Zoom Alternatives: Top Video Chat apps
- Owned by Fortnite developer Epic Games
- USP: Fun and Funky especially for current social distancing scenario. It has Games such as trivia and Heads Up! which you play with your friends.
- Compatible with: iOS, Android, macOS, and Chrome.
- Maximum participants at a time: 8
2. Skype / Microsoft Teams
- Owned by Microsoft
- USP: Best for video-chatting with your group of friends or team members from office.
- Maximum participants at a time: 50
- Compatible with: Android and iOS, Windows, iPadOS, web browser, Alexa and Xbox.
For even better features such as Persistent chats and granular denomination based chats, check out Microsoft Teams. In fact, it’s said that eventually, Teams will replace Skype. Its tagline is – Work remotely without feeling remote, which pretty much sums up its value proposition.
- Maximum participants at a time: 250 to 1000
- Compatible with: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android
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3. Google Duo
- Owned by: Google
- USP: Simple interface, works right from the dialer app, and superior video quality
- Maximum participants at a time: 12 people
- Compatible with: Windows, Android, and iOS
4. Whatsapp / Facebook Messenger
- Owned by: Facebook
- USP: huge userbase, ubiquitous
- Maximum participants at a time on Whatsapp: 16
- Compatible with: Android, iOS (video call from desktop not possible at the moment)
In case you’re an avid Facebook user, there’s messenger too which supports up to 50 video participants simultaneously.
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- Owned by: Apple
- USP: It just works without any fuzz; a goto option for Apple users, comes integrated with iOS and iPad and Mac.
- Maximum participants at a time: 32
- Compatible with: iPhones, iPads, and Mac
Best Video Calling apps
You can give Zoom a whirl if you’re like pfff! privacy.
Zoom’s main USP is its support for up to 100 participants and unlimited one-to-one meetings. That’s a large number of people and should cut for probably big enterprise conferences. The only caveat is that the video chat can extend up to 40 minutes only. Rest, it works on Android, iOS, PC, and Mac. It also lets you share screens, record meetings, generate transcripts and integrate with 3rd party services like Outlook, Gmail and iCal.
Download (at your own risk!)
Last but definitely not the least, there are niche options like Discord (for gamers and max video call limit of 15 participants) and Marco Polo (for sending short video bytes) as well.
Which one do you prefer? Let us know down in the comments.