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Definition: videoconferencing software


There are a variety of videoconferencing/video calling products on the market. The terms video conferencing, video calling and video chat are used synonymously. Following is a brief summary of Internet-based conferencing software that anyone with a computer, tablet or smartphone can use and does not include room systems from companies such as Poly, Cisco and VTEL. See videoconferencing.

Skype
In 2004, Skype started the whole idea of free, one-to-one video calls for consumers and added group calls six years later. See Skype.

FaceTime
Three years after the 2007 iPhone launch, Apple debuted its free video calling service. Unlike all other videoconferencing software, FaceTime only works on Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Mac). See FaceTime.

Zoom
Launched in 2011, Zoom has become an extremely popular video meeting service with free and paid options. Worldwide usage truly "zoomed" with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. See Zoom videoconferencing.

Google Duo
A free service aimed at consumers, Duo was designed to operate well over slow connections. See Google Duo.

Google Meet
Originally Hangouts Meet, then Google Meet, it is aimed at businesses and one of several videoconferencing services from Google. See Google Hangouts.

Cisco Webex
A business-oriented early entrant into videoconferencing, Webex was founded in 1996 and acquired by Cisco in 2007. See Webex.

GoToMeeting
Introduced in 2004, GoToMeeting supports video meetings with hundreds and thousands of participants. A paid service, support for conference room training is also provided.

U Meeting
Offers free and paid video meetings and Webinars. Also provides instant messaging for communications and file sharing that synchronizes with Active Directory in the enterprise.

BlueJeans
Introduced in 2009, BlueJeans specializes in large interactive video meetings. A paid service, security features keep unwanted participants from joining meetings and supports end-to-end encryption.

Lifesize
Debuting in 2003, Lifesize features high-definition video for global meetings. Offers free service for a limited time. Room systems also supported.

FreeConferenceCall
Free videoconferencing for up to 1,000 participants. Consumers are asked to pay what they can afford, but there are fees for business users.

Houseparty
A free service, Houseparty was designed to allow up to eight people to join in when they see their friends are having a "party." Facebook and Snapchat friends can also be added.

Microsoft Teams
Unified communications from Microsoft that integrates with Office 365. Teams is both free and paid. See Microsoft Teams.

Jabber
A unified communications platform from Cisco that provides messaging, Web conferencing, voice and video calls. See Jabber.

WhatsApp
In 2018, video was added to the free WhatsApp service. See WhatsApp.

join.me
Videoconferencing from LogMeIn. Another early entrant into this field, Join.me offers a free trial for paid subscriptions and features remote control and annotation capabilities.




Join.Me Video Screen
Join.me offers a unique option of placing participants in bubbles rather than only rectangular windows.