These are strange times. With social distancing being the order of the day, the search for the best video conferencing apps has reached new levels. While Skype and Google Duo (check Google Duo tips and tricks) used to be the ubiquitous selections for video conferencing back in the day, there are quite a few new names now: Zoom and Houseparty. While many see Zoom as a video chat app for business users, and Houseparty for fun-loving individuals.
But at the end of the day, they both serve the same purpose — make video calls to your friends and family over video.
So, which video conferencing app should you use — Zoom or Houseparty? Well, that's what we are going to find out in this post.
One of the primary things that you look for in an app is the ease of access. How easy is it to set a call? Or, how easy is it for others to join the call?
In the case of Zoom, let's just say that it's not a one-step process to set up a call or a meeting, and rightly so. Aforementioned, it's designed more for business users. Hence, you will have to go through the process of setting up meetings beforehand.
And like any other meeting tool, you will need to invite your participants or share the meeting link and password with them.
In a nutshell, for the first-timers, it can be quite an exhausting affair.
While you can set up instant meetings with a feature named Meet Now, you still have to share your Personal Meeting ID with your invitees for instant meetings.
But the good thing is that you can copy the details and share them over mail or chat services like WhatsApp and Messages.
On the other hand, Houseparty takes a more simplistic approach. Here you will have to add friends. There are two options for now. First, you can invite your contacts from your phonebook. Or, you can also link your Facebook account and add your friends from there.
As soon as you launch the app, your friends will be notified that you are 'in the house.' So, those friends already in the house can tap on the notification to start a 'party' session.
If a house party is in progress, you will be able to see them when you swipe up on the screen. Yep, it's that simple.
On the downside, you can't share URLs or links of parties with your contacts who are not in the house.
Number of Participants
Even WhatsApp and FaceTime let you chat over a video with your friends. So, why look for some other app? It all depends on the number of participants.
Houseparty doubles the number of participants and lets you up to add up to eight people in a room. Yep, a true riot! But yeah, if you have a huge group, you might have to leave a few members behind when you plan a party.
Being a business tool, Zoom lets you add over 100 participants on a single call, even on the free plan. Yeah, a big party (**wink wink**). However, do note that each Zoom meeting can only last about 40 minutes. So, should you exhaust the 40 minutes, you will have to plan a new meeting.
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So, where are these two apps available?
For starters, Houseparty is available for iOS and Android. So you can install it on your phone right away. If you want a slightly bigger surface area for videos, you can also download and install it on your Android tablet like the Galaxy Tab S6. Plus, PC users can download the Chrome extension for it.
On the other hand, the Zoom app is not only available for Android and iOS users, but it's also available for Windows and macOS users. This gives you the independence to place your calls from just about anywhere.
For instance, if you want to attend a meeting from the comforts of your laptop, and take notes at the same time, Zoom makes it possible.
Video Calling Features — Screen Sharing & Games
So far we have talked about the accessibility and platform availability. But what about features?
When it comes to Zoom, it comes packed with several handy features. But let me make myself clear at the beginning that these features are only tuned towards team meetings and video conferences.
So, you can record your meetings (PC only), share your screen with your attendees, save your recordings, among others. More importantly, if you are not comfortable with sharing the background, you can also set a virtual background in its place to mask it.
And the best thing is that you can pick from numerous backgrounds. Moreover, you can also upload your own. Cool, right?
Houseparty, being made for the casual users in you, doesn't have such sophisticated features. On the upside, there are several interesting games in its kitty.
I am a fan of the Quick Draw game. You get a small canvas to draw. You have to draw and your friends have to guess. Quite the game to pass the time if you ask me.
One of the cruxes of the Houseparty app is that anybody on your friends' list can come and join your party. So you have to make sure to lock the room. Thankfully, the option is right there at the bottom of the screen.
First, make sure that you do not share the zoom meeting details such as the link or the Meeting ID on a public platform. And even if you use the later, you have to be cautious and use a randomly generated ID every time.
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Entertainment or Work
Zoom and Houseparty cater to two different sets of users. If you want to catch up with your buddies, I recommend Zoom since it is available across multiple platforms. Secondly, while setting up a meeting is a tad complicated, it does have its merits. If you are in the mood for fun, you should certainly give Houseparty a chance.
On the privacy front, Zoom also has been attracting the wrong type of attention. Ever since the issues were made public, Zoom has made several changes. One of them includes a new software release aimed at enhancing security. Plus, they have brought Alex Stamos on board as a security consultant.
So, which app will you choose? Will you settle with the ones above, or will you go for a more reputed app like Google Duo and Skype?
Looking for cool Zoom alternatives? Read the next article to discover some of the best Zoom alternatives for video conferencing and remote meetings.
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