Stay connected: virtual communication options

Staying connected with friends and family is more important than ever, while keeping social distance. Here is a quick list of free communication tools people can use for text or video communication. This is a quick guide--you may want to talk to your friends and family and do additional research to find the best tool for your needs. Safety and security are also a factor when using such tools; your data may not be private when using these.

Skype - Works on your desktop with Windows, Mac OS, Linux,

  • Works on mobile with Android, Apple, Kindle
  • Audio and video calling
  • Screen sharing
  • Connect with up to 50 people
  • Free meeting setup, no downloads or sign ups

WhatsApp - Built for mobile, Android and Apple

  • Desktop version available for Windows and Mac OS
  • Simple voice, video, and texting
  • File sharing, PDFs, documents, pictures, slideshows, and more
  • End to end encryption

Facebook Messenger - Mobile app available through, Android, Apple, Kindle

  • Works in your browser through your Facebook account
  • Offers voice and video calls
  • Simple chat, share photos/videos, and send money

Facetime - Works only on Apple devices, iPhones, iPads

  • Voice and video calls
  • Requires phone number or email address connected to an Apple device

Google Duo - Mobile app available on Android and Apple

  • Works through your Internet browser
  • Offers video and audio calling
  • Setup needs phone number (Google account is optional)
  • Group calls up to 12 people

Zoom - Mobile app available on Android, Apple, and Kindle

  • Desktop program available on Windows and Mac OS
  • Offers various plans (some paid)
  • Host up to 100 users for a meeting
  • Easy to set up
  • Video and audio calls available
  • Some advice on Zoom from the St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce can be found here and here