Best Free Zoom Alternatives

While Zoom’s video conferencing service has skyrocketed in popularity since the coronavirus outbreak, recent news of its many security and privacy concerns may raise concerns about its use. In the video above, I’ll share three free alternatives that you should try.

Discord

Originally created as a voice chat tool for gamers, Discord has taken steps to transform its image into a one- stop voice, video and text messaging platform for all types of users.

Discord’s interface will be immediately familiar to anyone who has used Slack or Microsoft Teams. Discord servers can have different channels for projects or discussions, and voice channels make it incredibly easy for anyone on the server to quickly switch to a call. With a recent update, up to 100 people can join a video meeting at the touch of a button. Screen sharing is also possible with the Go Live feature, although you cannot save call recordings or change the webcam background like in Zoom.

I’ve been using Discord for years, primarily as a way to talk to friends when we play video games together. Lately, however, we’ve used this tool for everything from spending evenings with board games to watching TV shows together (a friend even broadcast himself putting together a computer). It was an incredibly easy way for us to stay connected.

Skype

Remember Skype? Well, it still exists and is actually a great free Zoom alternative. Microsoft’s VOIP service has launched a new Meet Now feature that supports up to 50 people on a video call. The best part is that anyone can join the call via the invite link, whether or not they have a Skype account.

Skype offers all the basic features you might need: call recording, screen sharing, webcam background blur and, with the latest update, virtual background support . It’s a great one-stop platform to connect with everyone from your tech-illiterate parents to your small business team.

Cisco Webex

At first glance, Cisco Webex looks like an enterprise tool designed more for tomorrow’s budget meeting and less for today’s happy hour. While that may be the case, its generous free tier offers many of the same features as Zoom: calendar integration, video calling for up to 50 people, and tons of calling options. During the coronavirus pandemic, the free tier cap, which limits calls to 40 minutes, has been lifted and up to 100 people can participate in the video call.

Webex is a great free option for small businesses or midsize teams, but it can also be a great way to stay connected with friends and family.

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