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Video apps keep us connected

If you’re staying close to home but still want to socialize, there’s an app for that. Actually probably more than you know. 

Video chat apps are clearly seeing a spike on the app charts.

Zoom Cloud Meetings, which is designed for enterprise but free to use in any arena, is currently in the top 10 of Apple’s free iOS app chart at No. 9, followed by Facebook’s Messenger (used primarily for video chat) at No. 11. The Facebook-owned WhatsApp (also primarily chat) is No. 23.

Apps like Apple’s FaceTime come preloaded on iPhones, so they wouldn’t be factored in the chart, and on many Android phones, Google Duo is also now preloaded. 

The apps are there, as group video chat platform HouseParty describes it, to “help you and your friends be together when you’re not together.” 

But to use, first you need to find ones where your friends already are –or are willing to go. The apps will come to life only if you know other people who are there. And, no, not everyone can access Apple-specific FaceTime, despite its having become synonymous with video chatting.

What about making new friends? The app is different from FaceTime, Skype and others in that you go on it to meet new people. For the past months the app, which offers nightly games that people play together, on and off camera, had been used by people stuck in the home, like caregivers or parents with young kids.  

Over the last five weeks, pop-in has seen 25% to 30% growth each week. It recently needed to add new server capacity to accommodate the increased usage says founder Alex Kruglov.  

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