If you’re staying home but want to have a dance party with your friends or just a quick happy hour cocktail chat, there’s an app for that! Since phones come pre-loaded with apps that work only amongst themselves, we need a cross-functional option that works for everyone.
- House Party
Zoom, recently exploding due to distance learning, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, House Party and pop.in are some of the most user friendly and popular options.
Zoom, which is designed for enterprise but free to use in any arena, is currently in the top 10 of Apple’s free iOS app chart at No. 9, followed by Facebook’s Messenger (used primarily for video chat) at No. 11. The Facebook-owned WhatsApp (also primarily chat) is No. 23.
The apps are there, as group video chat platform HouseParty describes it, to “help you and your friends be together when you’re not together.”
But to use, first you need to find ones where your friends already are – or are willing to go. The apps will come to life only if you know other people who are there. And, no, not everyone can access Apple-specific FaceTime, despite its having become synonymous with video chatting.
What about making new friends? The pop.in app is different from FaceTime, Skype and others in that you go on it to meet new people. For the past months the app, which offers nightly games that people play together, on and off camera, had been used by people stuck in the home, like caregivers or parents with young kids.