What are the best Zoom alternatives for video calling?
This is a great question—and one we are getting asked a lot these days.
Zoom recently grabbed headlines on count of its security vulnerabilities. If you have privacy concerns or can’t access Zoom for some reasons or just want to try out something different, this post is just for you.
Here are some top Zoom alternatives.
One of the more popular video chat software, Skype, has come up with a new feature that can give Zoom a run for its money — Skype Meet.
While not as feature rich as Zoom, Skype Meet is free and can be used on Windows, Android, iOS, Mac, and web. Another impressive thing about it is that it can accommodate up to 50 users. Moreover, all that users need to sign in is a link. This basically means users can log in even if they don’t have a Skype account, which is really cool.
Skype Meet has a text chat window, but that’s just about it. You won’t get to enjoy the meeting organization tools that you find in Zoom.
- Share presentations
- Record calls up to 30 days
- Can blur the background (in case using the app)
First thing first, GoToMeeting is not a free app.
Now that we have got that out of the way, let’s see what it has to offer. For starters, you get all the basic goodies you expect from a video conferencing software—namely, screen-sharing, audio and video sessions, and a mobile app for both Android and iOS.
The standard version, which will set you back by $14/month or $12/month annually, allows up to 150 members per meeting, which is pretty good. The business plan tier, on the other hand, can accommodate up to 250 participants and come with a price tag of $19/month. If yours is a large business, perhaps the Enterprise plan may be best for you. It allows up to 3,000 users.
- Mobile app for both Android and iOS
- The standard version allows 150 users
- Microsoft Teams
This video conferencing software comes built-in with Office 365. That said, anyone can use the free version of Microsoft Teams; all that is needed is an email address. The basic plan allows up to 300 users, group and one-on-one audio/video calls, guest access, file sharing (10GB per team), and screen sharing.
If you want a more robust set of features, check out its business plans. Each team user can share up to 1TB of files and collaborate with others using SharePoint Online and desktop Office programs. The business plans also support training sessions and online webinars, besides giving Administrators access to management, compliance, and security tools.
- Basic plan allows up to 300 users
- File sharing (10GB per team) in the free plan
- Screen Sharing
- Cisco Webex
This application has been around for nearly three decades and primarily serves businesses. Nevertheless, its free version offer a pretty good set of features and is certainly worth a look. For the present emergency situation, Cisco has increased the participant limit of its free version to 100 (previously 50). It has also removed the 40-min limit and included call-in abilities.
- 100 participants can join simultaneously
- Unlimited meeting time
- Call-in for audio
- Jitsi Meet
An open-source platform, Jitsi Meet let’s you meet anyone online at a single click. Simply go to its site and click the “Go” button. While most folks are quite satisfied with the quick web version, more technically-knowledgeable people can build up their own video app via Jitsu Videobridge. That said, the free version has features that compete with well-known apps, namely chat, the ability to throw away unwanted (or unruly) users, session recording.
- Private or public chat
- 75 participants can joint at a time
- Integrates with Google Calendar, Office 365, and Slack
- Google Meet
Till recently, the app (earlier known as Hangouts Meet) was available only to those who subscribed to G suite (Google’s paid service). However, starting early May, Google has decided to make the app available for all its Gmail service users. (True to its habit, Google is likely to roll out the service over several weeks. Therefore, it may well be some time before it reaches you.)
Once the app becomes available, you will be able to easily video chat with your family, friends, and colleagues, as long as they have a Google account — a prerequisite for using Google Meet.
To start a meeting, go to Google Meet, click the “Join or start a meeting” button, name your meeting (if you want to), and send the invites. Google Meet, like other video conferencing tools, let you schedule a meeting. You can do that using Google Calendar. Security features included in the app include the ability to kick out unruly participants.
- 100 participants can join at a time
- Unlimited meeting time (till 30th September; after which there will be a 60-min limit)
- Facebook Messenger Rooms
You can trust Facebook to fight for its digital territory. Precisely for this reason, it’s beefing up the video chat feature with Messenger Rooms, which allows Facebook users to create private or public video chat rooms. Up to 50 people can join a chat room and there’s no time limit on meetings. In comparison, Zoom allows a maximum of 100 people and there’s a 40-min limit on its meetings. Facebook is also allowing non-Facebook users to participate a meeting via a Messenger Room using a link.
However, Facebook Messenger Rooms have one noticeable drawback. End to end encryption is missing. That said, Facebook says it is not going to eavesdrop on any calls. Just like in case of Zoom and other video conferencing apps, a Messenger Room creators can kick out unruly participants any time.
- 50 people can join a meeting at a time
- No time limit on meetings
- Participants can use augmented reality filters
Looking for a high-quality streaming option for smaller teams? If yes, BlueJeans may be right up your alley.
BlueJeans is a cloud-based video conferencing service that offers three plans — Me, My Team, and My Company. The first plan costs $19.98 per user and allows up to 50 users. The My Team plan will set you back by $23.99/month per host and allows 10 hrs of meeting recordings. It also offers a common dashboard which up to 75 attendees can use. The MyCompany plan has a limit of 150 users and allows access to a room system calendar.
- HD content sharing
- Interactive dashboards
- Meeting recording
The free version is pretty limited, but nevertheless it can be a good option for catching up with your close friends. You get a single meeting room and no more than 4 users can join at one time. However, you get the ability to lock a room, choose your own URL (provided someone else has not already taken it), share a screen, and kick out or mute users.
Want more features?
You may want to check out the pro version. It allows up to 12 users per meeting and gives you three meeting rooms instead of one. You’ll have to cough up $9.99 per month for the pro version.
- YouTube integration
- You can “lock” rooms