Molly K. McLaughlin is a New York-based writer and editor with more than a decade of experience covering technology. She has tested and reviewed all sorts of software, mobile apps, and gadgets. Before launching her freelance business, she was an editor at PC Magazine, covering consumer electronics, followed by a stint at ConsumerSearch.com, a revie... See Full Bio
Google Duo is essentially Google's answer to FaceTime. It's also one of the most simple video chat apps available. You simply log in, verify your number, and you're good to go. You can video call other Google Duo users like you're making a normal phone call. It also includes a feature called Knock Knock that lets you see what someone is up to before you answer the video call. The app is cross-platform. That means it works between iOS and Android. Rumor is that a web version is coming for computer support eventually. This is about as easy as it gets for video calling apps. It's really very good.
In recent years, web video conferencing has moved from a tech curiosity and gamer tool to a nearly ubiquitous component of most business telecommunications toolboxes. A key reason is an increase in the average Internet bandwidth most businesses enjoy, which has the effect of smoothing video conferencing sessions to nearly the same reliability and quality as voice calls where once buffering and sudden disconnects were the norm. Another reason is rising business travel costs, where establishing a quick video call between multiple participants can have the same benefits of flying those people to a central location to meet face to face. But another reason for its popularity is that the combination of video conferencing, online collaboration software, and smart meeting room hardware, like the Microsoft Surface Hub, can provide a data-optimized meeting environment you simply can't get any other way.
Another handy feature to look for is support for Alexa voice commands that let you view a doorbell's live stream on an Amazon-enabled display. Once you've enabled the skill, simply say "Alexa, show the front door" to launch a live stream on your Echo Show or Fire TV-enabled TV or monitor. Similar voice commands are also available using Google Assistant.
To help, you'll need to investigate different VPN offerings for those remote connections, and potentially work with your IT professional to implement quality of service (QoS) on your network that'll protect the bandwidth used by video conferences while they're happening. If you're already using a cloud PBX-based voice over IP (VoIP) system for your phone calls, your IT people will already have a good idea how to protect traffic this way as the requirements are very similiar.
VivaVideo is one of the exceptionally popular video editing apps. In practice, though, it's a very middle-of-the-road video editor. It works especially well for short clips for social media. The app uses a storyboard style of editing where you load clips, edit and trim them as needed, and then move on to the next segment. It includes over 200 video filters and various other effects, text input, and fast and slow motion support. VivaVideo has a free version that comes with a watermark and a time limit for any given video. You can remove these restrictions by buying the pro version.
Love FilmoraGo! This app is truly amazing! I usually download apps first and give them a good try before rating them but this right here beats any other editing app. I just made an edit and it turned out perfect. Hope to see this grow further in the near future! Also some frame rate issues could be fixed. Occurs a lot when tiny clips are combined, not allowing it to play right. Overall a great app.
In all of these reviews, I hosted and joined meetings to test the experience of both registered and non-registered users. I outline how easy is to join a meeting, including whether or not a participant needs to download software before joining an online meeting (which could cause a delay). In this case, it's important to communicate with employees about hardware compatibility and preferred browser. Other services simply require that attendees enter a code to access the meeting.
There are plenty of business level video chat apps out there. They function differently from consumer level stuff. For instance, there is a larger emphasis on file sharing, attendance taking, and conferencing tools compared to something like Skype, WhatsApp, or Google Duo. Google Hangouts is slowly making its way to this genre. Some other good options include Zoom, Cisco Webex Meetings, GoToMeeting, and some others. The prices vary, but the software generally works okay. We only recommend these for business use, though. You can find our list of the best video conferencing apps at the button above!
Viber began life as a voice calling app. You used to be able to call people on the service along with regular phone calls. It has since evolved into a full-fledged messaging service. You can still make phone calls like you could before (for a fee). You can also text chat, video call, and more. It also features encryption on voice, text, and video calls between Viber users. There are a few extra fun features like hidden chats as well. It's a little bit heavier, similar to Facebook Messenger. However, it's otherwise not bad. The app isn't overly popular in the United States, but it's quite big Internationally. The in-app purchases are for things like stickers and other personalization items.
CutStory is a video editing app for Instagram stories. It makes it easy to chop a longer video up into the required length for Instagram Stories (15 seconds maximum per clip). This way, you can repurpose longer videos—from your brand’s YouTube library, for example—and create more robust content without having to continually stop and start the camera.