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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.

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.

Three years after the 2007 iPhone launch, Apple debuted its free video calling service. FaceTime initially only worked on Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Mac), but in 2021 Android and Windows users can be sent a link to participate. See FaceTime.

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 Meet
Originally Hangouts Meet, Google Meet is mostly aimed at businesses. Very popular, Meet is currently the remaining videoconferencing service from Google. See Google Meet.

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

GoTo Meeting
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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

Join.Me Video Screen
Originally from LogMeIn, join.me became part of the Goto product line. Join.me offered a unique option of placing participants in bubbles rather than only rectangular windows.