Where to meet
A go-to for video chats and meetings, Zoom has a free (‘Basic’) and premium (‘Pro’) option. Both options allow for a single host to support up to 100 participants. Video chats (or Zoom ‘meetings’) can include all 100 participants, with 49 participants’ screens visible at once. Whereas Zoom Basic limits video chat time to 40 minutes, Zoom Pro is unlimited. Zoom was specifically developed as a video-conferencing software, rather than a casual chat platform.
Cost: Zoom Basic – free; Zoom Pro AU$20.99 p/m (cost for one host, supporting up to 100 participants). If you’re a Unimelb student, with portal login details, you can use Zoom in its Pro capacity for free: https://www.unimelb.edu.au/zoom/home
A classic go-to for video calls, Skype allows for up to 50 participants in the one chat, with all participants’ screens viewable at once. It also features a ‘group sharing screen’ which allows participants to share PowerPoints, videos etc. Skype is a general video chat software.
Jitsi Meet is another free video chat software which is fully encrypted, without limits on call time or participants. Jitsi Meet doesn’t require an account either – a conversation can be started and participants added simply through the webpage. The number of participants in video chats is determined by internet capabilities. Jitsi is versatile, allowing for shared screens and documents, but is primarily focused on providing a more secure video option than other chat platforms.
Classic Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts is split rather confusingly into the ‘Classic’ Hangouts and Hangouts ‘Chat’ and ‘Meet’. Chat and Meet are part of the Google Suite, and require a (paid) G Suite account to use. Classic is openly available and allows for video chat between 10 participants. The host for a Classic Hangout must have a Gmail account.