I remember watching science fiction shows as a kid and being captivated by their depictions of crazy, futuristic technology. Spaceships, robots, and video calling on handheld devices! Boy, it was exciting to think about all the cool stuff people were supposed to have in the distant 21st century.
Well, the future is here, and we actually get to use a lot of that “crazy” stuff. I don’t have a spaceship or a robot (yet), but I do use video calling apps all the time. Most work delightfully well—even for us simple earthlings. Here are three popular apps I rely on regularly. Each offers a simple interface for easy video calling using either Wi-Fi or your network connection. They also all work cross-platform, so you can call someone on your phone and they can answer using their tablet or PC (or vice-versa.)
FaceTime is Apple’s built-in video chat for iPhone. It’s already integrated within iOS and your Phone app, meaning there’s no additional software to download or advanced setup needed—you simply place a call, choose the “Facetime” icon (which looks like a video camera), and you’re off! Your front facing camera will be activated to show you, and if the person you’re calling also has an iPhone, you’ll be able to see them on your screen.
Google’s Hangouts can be used with any Android device, many of which come with the app pre-loaded, or an iPhone. If you don’t have it, you can download it for free. With Hangouts, you can make video calls linking up to ten participants. It’s an especially handy app to use with tablets, and lets you make video calls quickly with just a few taps on your screen.
Skype has been around for more than 10 years now, and is among the most popular video calling apps, with over 250 million users worldwide. Once you’ve downloaded it, Skype is extremely user-friendly; you simply select the phone number or user name of the person you want to call, and then tap a video camera icon to get started. Like Hangouts, Skype works on both Android devices and iPhones.
Video calling is an awesome way to get up close and personal with your friends and family members. The best part is that you no longer have to be Captain Kirk or Jane Jetson to do it! If you haven’t tried it but want to, you’ll be well served by any of the apps discussed here. Choose whichever one offers the interface and features you’re most comfortable with, and get connected face-to-face.