Video chat apps are being downloads now more than ever while stay-at-home orders remain in place,
HouseParty, a social networking platform that lets up to eight users group video chat via smartphone or desktop app, alerts users when friends are online. The app was launched in 2016, but it garnered renewed popularity recently. There was a 1072 percent increase in downloads as more people rely on it for socializing while socially distancing.
Users spend, on average, 51 minutes a day on the app in Houseparty groups and one-on-one person chats.
Houseparty has been more frequently used for social gatherings among friends and family from happy hours to virtual birthday parties and more casual conversations. But many companies have been relying on Zoom, which went from 10 million users in December to more than 300 million currently to connect employees.
However, Zoom has been criticized for privacy and cybersecurity concerns, so more people and companies could be considering other video conferencing platforms to conduct both business and more leisurely chats and big tech is ramping up efforts in the space.
Indeed, with the rising demand to stay connected, Facebook also announced its expanding its video capabilities. The social network company announced last week the launch of its Messenger Rooms, a tool to start virtual hangouts with up to 50 participants that will let friends pop in the chat whenever they wish.
Facebook is doubling the number of people that can participate in its video calls on mobile messenger app WhatsApp from four to eight and introducing video calls to its Facebook Dating vertical in addition to implementing a new live-streaming feature on Facebook and Instagram.
The launches come at a time when more people are craving social connectivity. Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp have had 700 million people using its audio and video calls per day, and 800 million people per day use Live video features on Facebook and Instagram, TechCrunch reported.