In times of crisis, most of us have a way of coming back home. Whether it’s to seek advice, find refuge and understanding, or just vent about your day, family and friends are the ones who know you best and will be there in times of need. However, with everything that’s going on in the world right now, being physically close to those who matter most is not an option. As a result, many people are turning to the next best thing: online quality time.
Below, we at RENTCafé have compiled a list of free apps that make it easier to keep in touch with family, chit chat with friends and even connect with colleagues while working from home.
1. Marco Polo
One of the best names for apps like these is Marco Polo. If it’s a challenge to find a time that suits everybody, this is the app for you and your crowd. Best of all, you don’t have to be live to have a video talk. Simply leave a video message for someone and they can reply with their own video message whenever they’re available. This eliminates the difficulty in aligning schedules and adds to the thrill of a spontaneous conversation — even if the other person isn’t logged into the app at that particular moment.
If you and your loved ones like your privacy, here’s an app for you. At first glance, you might think Telegram is an online messaging app like any other. Granted, it does share characteristics and features with the best of them. But, what sets Telegram apart for the average user are its size and privacy. For example, its channels can accommodate an unlimited number of people, but most intriguing is that it also allows for unlimited size in the files you can share. Plus, you can even store large media files and documents on Telegram’s cloud and access them on any device. What’s more, the app prioritizes privacy and says it will protect your data from third-parties, but what really piqued our interest was the secret chat feature!
If you’re looking for casual, face-to-face communication that recreates the feeling of just bumping into someone, this one’s for you. You know that feeling of arriving at a gathering and immediately chatting with whoever’s there? Well, Houseparty gives you and those close to you a virtual version of that feeling. Specifically, the video app lets you know when your friends are “in the house” so you can immediately start chatting with whomever is available. You can even jump into other people’s conversations, play games together or hop between group chats without having to go through scheduling. The app is already a hit among Gen Z, and for good reason. It’s fun!
For most of us, GoogleDuo needs no introduction. The video and voice call app works across iOS and Android devices, and is already beloved by many for its user-friendly interface and sign-up option. To get started, just download the app to your phone, register and you’re all set. Additionally, if you’re on the go, the app switches between WiFi and data so the call won’t drop as the video quality adjusts. Plus, the knock-knock feature allows you to see a live video preview of the caller before you answer. And, recently, the app increased its maximum number of participants from 8 people on a group call to 12 — just in time for you to make sure every one of your family members is included!
This app is the relationship manager you never had. The idea behind Garden is as simple as it is wholesome: we need to tend to our meaningful relationships like flowers in a garden. For instance, set how often you’d like to catch up with someone or a larger group, and leave notes following your conversations. It works great for business, as well. Plus, the app also encourages you to reach out to those who matter and go beyond “likes” on social media. This will make it great for when things get back to normal — especially if we forget about what’s important as we get caught up in our hectic daily lives once again.
Messaging apps help us stay in touch no matter the time zone or location. Nowadays, with all of the hardships following the spread of COVID-19, there is one consolation: you can communicate with your loved ones faster than ever, even when you’re isolated from them. Whether you rent in Phoenix while your family is living in Chicago, or you all live in the same city but isolate separately, nothing is more comforting than keeping in touch with those who make a difference in your life. So, be there to offer a virtual shoulder to lean on or a smile to whoever needs it, and receive the support and relief from those who care about you most.