Welcome to TNW Basics, a collection of tips, guides, and advice on how to easily get the most out of your gadgets, apps, and other stuff.
Video calling is more important now than it’s ever been. To avoid getting sick, more and more of us are working from home, and we’re avoiding in-person tete-a-tetes with friends and family. I’m sure there are a number of you who have taken to socialization-via-vidcall like ducks to water. But not everyone wants (or needs) to become a Zoom or Google Hangouts expert. And creating accounts for a bunch of new video conferencing software can be a pain.
But is there any form of video conferencing that doesn’t require you to login, download software, or otherwise commit your time, energy, and password-creating resources? There are, actually. Here are a few video calling sites you can use to have a video conference with no logins or installs required.
Skype is the most obvious and most familiar example. In response to the coronavirus threat, Microsoft rolled out a feature for Skype called “Meet Now.” To use this feature, you can visit Skype’s website and generate a link for a free video call. Once you’ve generated the link, you can join the call as a guest — you just have to assign yourself a name. You can then send the link to anyone else with whom you’d like to have a call, and none of you need to have a Skype account or the Skype app installed. While the guest accounts are only good for 24 hours, it’s plenty of time to get even the lengthiest meetings out of the way.
If you don’t want to use Skype, another app worth checking out is Jitsi Meet, an open-source platform that doesn’t require accounts. It’s not a well-known piece of software, but it does offer free group meetings for anyone. It also integrates with Slack, Google Calendar, and Office 365. To use it, just go to the site, enter in a group call name, and you’ll be taken into the group call. You can invite up to 75 people to a single Jitsi call, though I doubt most of us will need to have a vidcall that large.
In a similar vein, Talky allows you to set up a meeting instantly from your browser. It’s probably the software on here with the least muss and fuss. It also has the strictest limit on how many people can join a call, that being six. So I wouldn’t recommend it for large business conferences, but I have no doubt it would serve the purpose for small family or friend meetings.
Finally, there’s 8×8. This software is meant more for business meetings than personal calls, as you might be able to guess from the website, but otherwise it seems to be as hassle-free as every other website on this list. You create a meeting name, and are automatically taken to a room. You give yourself a nickname, and permit the site to access your camera and microphone, and you’re there. 8×8 also auto-generates a meeting link and dial-in numbers. It’s an ideal site for business meetings and also offers Microsoft 365 integration.
There you go. Now you can have a video conference with your friends, family, or colleagues without having to go through the rigmarole of creating an account or downloading software of any kind. Good luck!