These days, it's easy to add faces and expressions and gestures to your digital conversations with the help of video communications tools. Here are five apps you can use on PC, Mac, and a host of mobile devices.
Note: If you'd prefer to view this information as a blog post, check out this entry in our Five Apps blog.
Katherine Murray is a technology writer and the author of more than 60 books on a variety of topics, ranging from small business technology to green computing to blogging to Microsoft Office 2010. Her most recent books include Microsoft Office 2010 Plain & Simple (Microsoft Press, 2010), Microsoft Word 2010 Plain & Simple (Microsoft Press, 2010), and Microsoft Word 2010 Inside Out (Microsoft Press, 2010).
I believe, there is no sense to re-invent the wheel ) any complication of a service causes lower user-friendliness, bugs and troubles. We are using Skype for video-chats and Teamlab collaboration platform separately and everyone is satisfied.
Re your video chat wonderings. I have used AIM for years. Now I find with an upgrade that it shows my name rather than screen name. I took it out, tried an older version and they all give my name. My friend also objects to use of his name now, too.. Whatever happened to AOL's privacy feature? They don't allow me to change it now nor does SKYPE. AOL pulled their old "So and so is in a private chatroom," so it must have been under protest. Knowing that, why are they posting our full names again? SKYPE blocks half the video with icons. AIM has a large IM screen. AIM's video holds longer or did before the upgrade. Now NOTHING works. AOL, give me back my old AIM and privacy, please.
I've used both Messenger and Google for quite a while... I'm a very satisfied user... Now I'm wondering if any of the others are better.
The best chat app I have found (better than Windows Live Messenger and Skype) is the chat feature of Gmail. You don't have to have a Google+ account, but you do need a Gmail account. You can call (without video) anywhere in North America for free, regardless of the other person having a Google account or not. I DON'T work for Google, I'm retired ;-)
But it worth to mention that the Google account is a unified account used for all Google applications and services: Gmail, Google + ... I don't work for Google too ;)