The present COVID – 19 pandemic might be an introvert’s dream but it is quite a nightmare for a social butterfly. Sitting at home with nowhere to go and not meeting your near and dear ones for months on end can be frustrating and distressing. From doing household chores and working online for long hours, to looking after cranky children and ailing parents at home, we all have tough jobs in a pandemic. You need a break from all this, a time to just be by yourself and indulge in some ‘me time.’ The Internet and its various means of entertainment and education are great ways to find something interesting to do for yourself. Today, many apps are meant just for that purpose. If you’re looking for options, here is a list of the top five apps that you can download to get rid of your quarantine woes and have some fun. From connecting with friends and family on video chatting apps to co-watching movies and having a virtual party, these apps provide you all that you need to get a sense of normalcy into an otherwise isolated, boring life.
Connecting with people through the virtual medium is the new normal and video chatting is the simplest way to go about it. All you need is a smart device, a fast internet connection, and a camera, microphone, and speakers. Camfrog is one of the most popular video-chatting platforms connecting people from all over the globe to stay united during these trying times. It is a great way to reach people you know and a unique platform to find new friends who might be unknown to you at the moment.
The app offers the option of private chat rooms where you have control over who joins the group. It is a more intimate set up and is ideal for those who like a one-on-one interaction. However, if you are looking at having healthy discussions with a large group of people, Camfrog has public chat rooms too. Therein, you get to interact with multiple people simultaneously and what’s more, you can share videos, audio clips, and even documents. This makes the whole experience of chatting more exciting and fun.
Besides this, Camfrog also has a gaming element to it, wherein you can find new ways to earn virtual gifts through credit points. These gifts can be good conversation starters and a way to break the ice. Another interesting feature of Camfrog is its built-in software for hearing impaired users. It has a hearing-impaired video chat room list with special features for deaf and hard of hearing people, making it convenient for you to converse regardless of hearing level. So break away from boredom and download this app now.
- Google Duo
It is tough to meet family and friends during COVID-19 and the ongoing social lockdown. However, thanks to video chat apps, you can at least feel close to them. These apps allow you to stay connected through the virtual medium and spend an enjoyable time face-to-face when you can’t be together in person. Google Duo makes it all the more seamless for you to stay in touch. This latest app from Google is perfect for making video calls and works with Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. The best part is that it is a built-in video chatting app for both iOS and Android devices so you just need to turn it on in your device, without searching for it on the Play Store. This is the perfect answer to Facetime used by Apple users.
Google Duo is secure with end-to-end encryption and has amazing clarity in both audio and video. You can add a maximum of 12 people to a single call, which is ideal for having a family party remotely. The app has a great feature called “Knock Knock” where you get a preview of the person making the call before accepting the call. This works especially well when you do not know the person calling, as it gives you the option of not taking the call on seeing the preview. The app also has options for audio calls and sending notes and fun stickers. Google Duo makes it easy to send customized video and audio messages too when calls are not possible. From photos, simple notes to doodles and videos, you can show your emotions and feelings in different ways. This makes conversation fun and more interactive. An extension of this app is Google Hangouts, which works well for work calls. Download the app to make your loved ones feel special and wanted.
- Instagram Co-Watching
Instagram is the go-to app today with the millennials. You can see the youth using it extensively to post pictures and upload videos of their latest hobbies, cooking skills, or even their workout regime. It is the coolest thing to do today, especially in times of social isolation. You can see your friends and family and also what they are up to in times of COVID-19. To make the experience livelier and more interactive, Instagram has launched Instagram Co-Watching, a novel way to be in touch with people.
In this new format, you can invite your friends on a video chat and browse through feed posts together. It could be a feed someone has liked or saved or even one that Instagram recommends. The idea is to do this activity in a group and share views and jokes and give comments, making the whole experience a lot more enjoyable. The app allows up to six people to co-watch at one time on Instagram. You can share private or public posts that everyone in the chat can see. With this extension of one of the most popular social media apps, people are sure to feel genuinely connected even though through the virtual medium. It will definitely add some momentum to your potentially stagnant life.
As the name suggests, Houseparty is a fun app to make your social life exciting. This social networking app creates a virtual space where you can chit chat with friends or play games to bring back some momentum into your life. It is easy to use and connects up to eight people to video chat in a single room. You can be a part of infinite rooms and easily float among them.
This social app is like any other video chatting app such as Skype, but the distinguishing factor lies in the intent with which it has been created. Houseparty allows you to host a virtual party and invite friends and family to join in the fun. It also lets people play games together like trivia and quick draw, and chat at the same time. All these games are built-in, so it saves you the time and effort to download them separately. This app is available on both the iOS App Store and Android Play Store. Go ahead and host your first virtual party while you are stuck indoors with nowhere to go.
One of the best apps for all those who love gaming, Discord also supports voice and video calls and text messaging. It is a great app for gamers and its chatting features makes gaming a whole lot of fun. You can chat with all those in the gaming arena with you and also find other people and add them to your friends’ list. A lot of people use this app as a social tool as well.
Due to its wide-ranging functionality, Discord is used as a forum-style community platform where people with common interests can create servers or join existing ones, both public and private. It allows a lot of people to get together through video and voice calls as well as text. The majority of the servers on Discord are gaming-oriented but you can also find public Discord servers that include topics like cryptocurrency, self-improvement, or just making friends and staying connected. The best thing about Discord is its wide range of chat options. It also has an easy-to-use interface and is accessible through various devices. You need not be sitting in front of a gaming PC to enjoy Discord. The app has a downloadable PC program that can be used on a computer or laptop. There is a web-based version and a mobile version too. It’s time to get onto this app and make life more fun with some games and a lot of socializing with friends on the virtual platform.
Best way to choose the video chat app for you
Most of the video chat apps are free and they all have great features, making it difficult to decide which one to choose. The best way to begin shortlisting is to take stock of what you need to accomplish with the app. If you are looking to chat on your phone only, Google Duo, Instagram Co-watching, and Paltalk will suffice. However, if you and your friends want to connect a number of devices and want to do more than just chatting, then you should look at Discord and Houseparty. Ultimately, you will choose an app that your friends and family also prefer using but if you are looking for more options, try out all these apps. They are feature-rich, easy to download, and simple to use.
Must-haves to use these apps
Now that you have all the information about the most happening and popular social apps, you should also understand the things required to be able to have a seamless interaction.
- A smart device
The most important thing to have in today’s age of technology and gadgets is a smart device. It could be a smartphone, iPad, laptop, or even a desktop. The smart device is a basic requirement to begin your journey of virtual socializing.
- Proper internet connection
Video chatting requires a good internet connection. A broadband connection with fast and stable speed is preferable.
Any device you have, be it a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or computer, should be compatible with the app that you plan to download. You should always upgrade your software or even the device so you can use the latest version of the video chat apps, or else they eat up too much space on your device and make it slow. Also, use a device that can work on any operating system such as Windows, iOS, Linux, and the like.
- Proper audio and video
Today almost every device comes with a built-in webcam, but do not rely on it for video chatting as built-ins often have a low resolution, hampering the clarity. Buy an external HD image webcam and get a proper microphone with speakers for the enhanced audio experience. These are available online, making it easier for you to be fully equipped in times of the novel coronavirus.
Normal life has come to a standstill due to the current pandemic and it is likely to continue for some more time. Being isolated and stuck at home with nowhere to go and no people to interact with can get quite frustrating and add to that the fear of losing jobs, getting sick, or handling an economic slump. Everyone needs a vent, a space to have some amount of human interaction to share and connect. These apps provide exactly that. They are a platform for virtual bonding in today’s times of social distancing and self-quarantine. Download them today and you will see your life bouncing back to some amount of normalcy.