5 min read
May 20, 2020
Web conferencing

Top 3 Free and Popular Video Conferencing Software Platforms

Video conferencing has become a staple of the digital workplace. Check out three free and popular video conferencing software platforms based on user reviews.

A.K.
Amanda KennedySenior Content Writer

Investing in a reliable and effective video conferencing platform is crucial for the success of your organization, and the good news is there are many solid free options to choose from.

We’re likely to see continued dependence on video conferencing as productivity stays consistent while companies work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless, remote work is no longer a trend, so it’s important to find video conferencing software you feel comfortable with.

Video conferencing is a type of web conferencing that includes two-way audio and video sharing, presentation streaming, and screen sharing, and many platforms offer both web and video conferencing features.

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Paid vs. free video conferencing: Is paid always better than free? 

Every business is different, so it depends on your individual needs. Overall, though, here are the main differences you’ll see between paid and free solutions:

  • User management, including the number of users and customizable room links or passwords

  • Meeting duration and storage space limitations

  • Scheduling, streaming, and recording features

  • Customer support

One thing to keep in mind is that some solutions such as Google Meet (the paid version of Google Hangouts) are offering free or upgraded packages during COVID-19 specifically, so be sure to look around at those options as well when making your decision. GetApp has also put together a roundup of other free software plans, trials, and services to help businesses during COVID-19.

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the top three free and popular video conferencing platforms to help small business leaders decide which is right for their organization. Use one of these options if you don’t have the budget for a paid solution right now, or if you want to try one out before investing in the paid version.

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FreeConferenceCall.com

FreeConferenceCall.com offers HD audio and free video conferencing, as well as screen sharing. The platform is free for up to 1,000 participants. It also offers breakout rooms within a larger meeting so smaller groups can collaborate. 

Key features in the free plan include:

  • Automated transcripts

  • Meeting recording and playback

  • Remote desktop

  • Chat

  • Toll-free numbers

  • Custom greetings

  • Hold music

Upgrading to paid features include: 

  • With a $4 contribution, users receive the One Number feature, which enables them to easily connect to a personal line by dialing their unique phone number.

The platform supports integration with third-party applications, such as Slack, Evernote, Dropbox, Microsoft Outlook, and Google Calendar.

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Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is the free version of Google Meet, which allows you to connect remotely via chat and video. Google’s products have gone through several name changes, so here’s more information about the difference between Google Chat, Google Hangouts, and Google Meet.

Key features in the free plan* include:

  • Group chats of up to 150 people

  • Video calls for up to 10 people

  • Connect Google Voice account to make calls, send and receive SMS, and access voicemail

*Due to COVID-19, until September 30, 2020, Google Meet is offering the following additional features free:

  • Larger meetings for up to 250 participants per call

  • Live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain 

  • The ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive

Upgrading to paid features include:

  • Group chats of up to 250 people

  • Multidevice chat sync

  • Stored chat history

  • Real-time captions

  • Meeting recording function

Google offers access to the Hangouts Chat API, so you can integrate any service, bot, or tool with Google Hangouts.

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Zoom

Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing and web conferencing solution that’s scalable for companies of all sizes. It allows for many use cases, from simple meetings to webinars, file sharing, and instant messaging.

Key features in the free plan include:

  • Host up to 100 participants

  • Unlimited number of one-on-one and group meetings

  • 40-minute limit on group meetings

Upgrading to paid features include:

  • Meetings with up to 100 participants

  • 24-hour limit on meetings

  • Admin feature controls

  • Reporting

  • Custom personal meeting ID

  • 1GB of MP4 or M4A cloud recording

  • REST API

If you’re looking for integrations, it’s best to go with the paid version of Zoom since it includes REST API, so you can integrate more tools, resources, or services into the platform.

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Next steps

Since remote work is here to stay, it’s no longer simply optional—you’ll need a solid video conferencing software platform to stay connected with teammates regardless of their physical location. Whether you ultimately decide to go with a paid or free version depends on your company’s specific needs. 

Methodology and Disclaimer

To identify the systems featured here, we entered the term “web conferencing software” in Google during the week of April 20 in an incognito window with the location set to the U.S. The top solutions on the first, second, and third page of Google’s results, along with products listed on industry leading blogs, that fit our description below were selected for review.

Free products

For the purposes of this article, we classified a product as free if:

  • It offers a free version of the software.

  • It is not intended as a trial version of the software where you must purchase a product version after a limited amount of time. 

  • It allows group meetings of at least five web participants. 

  • It met our web conferencing software definition.

Criteria

Once a tool was classified as free, we analyzed it according to the following criteria:

  • It had at least 20 reviews published on GetApp.

  • It had 4 or more (out of 5) ratings on GetApp.

Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.

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