As the great Bob Dylan once said, the times they are a-changin’. In a matter of a few short weeks, the world seems to have been turned upside down. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted the globe with many of us still reeling in shock. We’re learning new terms like “social distancing” and “flatten the curve,” terms I’d never really known until this week.
Governments around the world are locking down their borders to prevent the spread of coronavirus and protect their citizens. The Trump administration is recommending social distancing and to not gather in groups of more than ten people. It’s also been recommended to not go to bars and restaurants.
Basically, we need to practice social distancing to better protect ourselves and our neighbors from becoming infected with the coronavirus. We’re being asked to do this not to necessarily kill the coronavirus, but to slow the spread and give health professionals time to create a proper vaccine. We’re also being asked to do this so we don’t all get sick and flood the health system with an overload of people.
While social distancing and, basically, putting the brakes on the way we live our lives is a heck of an inconvenience, it is the socially responsible thing to do. There’s no doubt that this is going to affect many people financially and in other ways, which really sucks. But, hopefully, the coronavirus pandemic can be reigned in quickly with everyone practicing social distancing.
Social distancing isn’t easy for everyone. We’re used to being around our family and friends, seeing and touching them. For those who need to see the people they talk to, here are 5 apps that can help you stay visually connected during this coronavirus social distancing time:
If you’re an iPhone, iPad or Mac user you already have FaceTime built-in to your devices. FaceTime is hands-down the best video app for Apple, and it works flawlessly between Apple devices. Simply choose the FaceTime app, find your contact, and dial.
FaceTime does have a major downfall, though. It will not work with a non-Apple device. So this video service will not work with your friends and family who happen to use Android or Windows PC’s. But, FaceTime is excellent for those families who all live in the Apple ecosystem. For Android and Windows users, we have plenty of choices for you.
Google Duo works on all platforms and is a great solution for staying visually connected to family and friends. The service is similar to FaceTime and works flawlessly if you use your Google account and especially if you have your contacts stored on Google already.
Your contacts will need to have to install Google Duo on their end in order to use this, that’s a given for all these apps. But you can use Google Duo on your mobile device as well as your PC or Mac. Google Duo is pretty simple to use and has some simple controls just like FaceTime.
Skype is an oldie but still useful. Skype is one of the first video conferencing apps, and it works across all platforms. Like all of the other apps, Skype needs to be installed on both sides for it to work. Skype is owned by Microsoft and works very well on Windows PC’s.
It works well on Android, iOS, and Mac, and the interface is pretty much like the other options you’ll find here. It’s still one of the more robust video apps out there and should work for just about everyone.
WhatsApp is our next video messaging app, and this one is owned by Facebook. You can link the app to your Facebook account and have all of your Facebook contacts at the ready. The interface allows for both video and texting, which some people may enjoy more.
WhatsApp may not be for everyone, especially if you’re not a fan of Facebook, but it does the job and is an option for many.
Finally, there is Viber. Viber is owned by Rakuten and, like most all of the rest on the list, does video calling, messaging, group chats and more. I’ve never really used Viber, but it looks like a robust and useful platform.
Like all the others, you and your contacts will both need to be a part of Viber in order to use it.
There are many more video and messaging apps out there you can use during this coronavirus social distancing time but these are the five more popular ones.