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Video Chat with Family and Friends

Post Date:03/27/2020 7:15 PM

Video chats are a great way for us to stay connected to friends and loved ones while we shelter at home during the COVID-19 outbreak. With free apps like FaceTime and Zoom, getting set up for video chat is simpler than ever. Below is a guide to some of the most popular platforms compiled by staff of the Sausalito Library.

For each of the platforms listed below, check that the person you'd like to call has the appropriate kind of device or account before you place your call. To use a video chat platform on your computer or mobile device, make sure your device is equipped with both a camera and a microphone. Any mobile phone will have a built-in microphone, and most smartphones should have a camera as well. Tablets and laptops usually have both as well.
  • FaceTime for iPhones and iPads and FaceTime for Macs: FaceTime is only available for making video calls from an Apple device to another Apple device. It is a built-in feature on these devices.

  • Google Hangouts: If you and the person you'd like to call already have Gmail accounts, you're halfway there! Once you've each logged in to your accounts, there are options for phone calls, messages, and video calls. To use on a mobile device, you’ll need to download the Hangouts app.

  • Facebook Messenger: If you and the person you'd like to call have Facebook accounts, this is an easy option. To use on a mobile device, you'll need to download the Messenger app.

  • Zoom: Although designed for use in a business context, Zoom is also easy to use for personal video calls and group chats. To use on a mobile device, you'll need to download the Zoom app.

  • Skype: Although Skype is owned by Microsoft, if can be used on PCs and Macs. To use on a mobile device, you'll need to download the Skype app.

If you need help setting up your chosen platform, or if you have any questions about using a free video chat service, please email Library Assistant II Tula Biederman at
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