Why Facebook and Google Are Stepping Up Their Video Chat Game

Zoom has become a household name thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual meetings have surged over the last few months as people look to connect from home for both business and leisure. As a result, several platforms, including Google and Facebook, are increasing their functionality to allow more people to connect.

Facebook has created a new feature called “Messenger Rooms.” It allows up to 50 people to video chat at once, even if they don’t have a Facebook account. There is no time limit in Messenger Rooms — unlike Zoom’s 40-minute time limit for free service.

Here’s how it works: a user can email a link to up to 50 people, including those participants that don’t have accounts. Those users are taken to a browser window where they’re prompted to enter their first name before continuing on to the video chat.

The Facebook-owned chatting application, WhatsApp, is also working to increase its total number of audio and video calls beyond the current limit of four.

Google has also stepped up its game by officially rolling out “Google Meet” for everyone. Originally built for business meetings, it’s now free and available to all. Anyone who has a Gmail account can sign up and start a video call at meet.google.com.

“Google Meet” has some advanced features like scheduling and screen sharing as well as layouts that give you a better view of the people you’re connecting with. “Google Meet” has also implemented automatic live captioning to make it more accessible to people with hearing loss. 

Did we mention, both these video chat apps are free?

 

In the month of April, Zoom hosted approximately 300 million daily meeting participants according to founder Eric Yuan.

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