Millions of people are using Zoom, one of the best video chat apps and teleconferencing software solutions, while they’re staying at home for work meetings or personal calls with friends and family. But lately, the company has come under fire because of Zoom-bombing by trolls. Also, Zoom may be leaking your email address, Zoom is reportedly attracting malware attacks, and more than 500,000 Zoom accounts are being sold on the dark web.
- Zoom isn’t a safe platform for use, says the Indian Government
- Indian government issues advisory for users still wanting to use Zoom
- The Indian Government is hosting a startup challenge to develop their own video calling service
Google Meet (paid)
Google Meet is the most well-known and widely used Zoom alternative. The paid version of G-Suite includes Hangouts Meet, which allows you to have video calls with up to 250 participants, hold presentations and record meetings and save them to Drive. You can also easily send a meeting link to participants outside of your company.
The free version of Google Hangouts can connect up to 150 users, but doesn’t have presentation features nor the ability to record calls. Also, users must have a personal Google account to join the video conference.
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The popular video chat software Skype is well-known and widely used, and its new Skype Meet Now feature is here to challenge Zoom. Meetings can hold up to 50 users, and users no longer need an account to sign in, just a link.
There is a text chat window, but otherwise, Skype doesn’t have the meeting organization tools that the other Zoom alternatives have. But it’s free and can be used on the web, Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.
Microsoft Teams (paid)
Microsoft turned its Skype for Business tool into Teams, which allows you to host video meetings for up to 250 people. Unlike Skype, Teams does offer standard video conferencing tools, like screen sharing and the ability to record meetings.
The Microsoft Teams is included with two different Office 365 plans, which also provide Office apps, 1 TB of OneDrive storage and more. Microsoft is making some changes to its offerings, so get more details about the company is launching Microsoft Teams for consumers later this year.
Zoho Meeting (paid)
The open-source video conferencing service allows you to host end-to-end encrypted video meetings and calls for up to 100 people. Participants don’t need to sign up for a login; they can access the meetings through a link or a dial-in via web browsers, desktop clients or mobile apps. Zoho has even provided a handy chart comparing its product to Zoom.
Zoho Meeting offers an array of meeting tools, like screen sharing, the ability to record calls and moderation (you can mute participants, for example). And you can easily pull in documents, spreadsheets and presentations since the service is integrated with Zoho’s Office suite. But note that there’s a different pricing plan for webinars, which may make it too costly.
Cisco Webex Meetings (free)
Cisco is offering free access to its Webex Meetings in all countries where it is available to support the work from home needs during the coronavirus outbreak. Despite being available as free, you’ll get all enterprise features including unlimited usage with no time restrictions, support for up to 100 participants, and a toll dial-in in addition to Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) capabilities. All you need is to sign up on the Cisco Webex portal to get started with the Webex Meetings. Overall, the experience that’s been offered by Cisco is nowhere limited when comparing with Zoom.
Zencastr is technically a web-based podcasting service and doesn’t do video calls, but it’s excellent for conference calls. Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Zencastr is lifting its restrictions on group size and recording limits. Free users can now host calls with unlimited users and unlimited recording time (normally only three users per call and 8 hours of recording time per month, though unrecorded calls don’t count).
Paid users ($20/month) get a special live editing dashboard and post-production tools. Only the host needs to have a Zencastr account, as they can invite users through simple shareable links (like you can with Zoom). There’s also a “hand raise” button that can help keep things running smoothly when you’re hosting a large conference call and want to make sure everyone can chime in.