Keeping in touch with friends and family using your computer, web camera and microphone has never been easier thanks to the video chat services compared here:
Google Voice and Video Chat
If you would like to speak to your family using video, then Google Voice can help. You get your own phone number, and can make calls to any number. Voicemail messages are transcribed and emailed to you. Google Voice is great if you want to make free calls within the United States and inexpensive calls to international destinations. You can sign up for Google Voice and Video Chat using your computer’s Internet browser. The person you are calling does not have to use Google Voice to receive a call. You will have to set up a Google Voice account and then the software will install on your computer. Some people choose to use Google Voice for all their calls or just for international calls. This service is different from other video chat services as it will also allow you to send SMS text messages for a fee.
Skype is one of the most widely used video chat programs available. It uses Internet technology to make video calls from your personal computer. If your family and friends have Skype, then it is free for both parties to make or receive a video call. As with Google Voice, you can make calls to parties who do not have Skype. However, you will encounter per minute call charges. Skype also provides a free instant messaging service for people who download the software and use it to call each other. The great thing about Skype, compared to other video chat services, is the ability to share your screen and let others see your computer’s desktop. This is great if you are using your computer to teach someone or explain a concept.
Windows Live Video Chat
Another great way to chat face to face with friends and family is Windows Live Messenger with video chat. This is one of the components of the Windows Live Essentials product. It is the most up-to-date version of the original MSN messenger released by Microsoft. As with other video chat programs, you will use it to contact family and friends. There are great reasons to choose Windows Live Messenger such as the ability to use other Microsoft products, and it offers free video chat for anyone. Any person can sign up for a free Windows Live account using their email address and get started with Windows Live Messenger.
Yahoo! Messenger Video Call
Another program similar to Google Voice and Windows Live Messenger is Yahoo! Messenger, which offers the option to make a video call. This is the video chat service for Yahoo! email addresses. Video chat is completed by clicking on the person’s username and sending a request to view your web camera. To sign up and use this service, both parties will need a Yahoo! email address.
About The Author
Lashan Clarke is currently studying for her Master’s degree and writes about online information and education on technology-based topics for DegreeJungle.com.