One of the benefits of this fascinating modern age we live in is the ability to not only speak with, but see loved ones far away through video chat. All you need is a camera, a microphone, and the right platform. Most computers come with mics and cameras built in. However, if yours does not, you can find fairly inexpensive ones at Wal-Mart or any other store that carries electronics.
This post will go over the three easiest available video chat platforms. All are free and allow you to talk to multiple people through multiple computers as once. For example, you can talk to your sister in Illinois and your niece in Alabama at the same time. However, each does require the person or people you want to speak with to have the same video chat platform.
I’ve been on rather a Facebook kick this week, haven’t I? Facebook Messenger is a way to communicate with your friends privately through instant messaging. You also have the option to start a video chat.
One note, you or the person you want to talk with may need to download an extra feature through Facebook, but you will be prompted to do so if necessary. The benefit of using Facebook is that you probably are already friends with the people with whom you are video chatting, so you don’t have to rebuild a contact list.
If you have an e-mail address that ends in @gmail.com, you likely have access to Google Hangouts. Simply sign in to your gmail account and look for “Hangouts” in the bottom left-hand corner of your screen. If you don’t see it, make sure you have turned it on. The benefit of Google Hangouts is similar to Facebook in that it pulls from your Google contacts in your e-mail account. When you click on the Hangouts button to start a conversation, you need only begin typing the recipient’s name in the search box and it should pull it up automatically.
This is perhaps the most popular platform for video chatting. However, it does require you to download the free Skype software directly onto your computer and set up an account. Once you have one, you can import contacts from your e-mail or add them manually. It won’t add people automatically unless you call someone else who has Skype. Otherwise, it works just like Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts.
So, go try these out and find which one works best for you. Sometimes, I find one works better on a specific Internet connection. You may want to use a combination of the three, just in case.