Most popular videoconference apps

As the coronavirus pandemic changes workplace and school culture around the world, more and more people are turning to video-conferencing apps to connect from a distance.

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There are a number of video-meeting apps that offer different features that may appeal to some users more than others. Teachers may prefer a different platform than businesspeople, for example; kids may prefer a different platform than adults, and so on.

Here are the five most popular video apps in the U.S. based on user numbers and ratings:

1. Zoom

Zoom, founded in 2011, gained hundreds of millions of users during the COVID-19 pandemic because it offers and easy-to-use video platform on mobile devices, tablets and computers.

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The app is free, though it offers premium options for those who want to host meetings larger than 100 people, global toll-free calling, more storage and other features. Zoom began offering free, 40-minute-long video calls for users during the pandemic.

Zoom faced some privacy and security issues when it first gained an unprecedented number of new daily participants starting around March, but it has since worked to give users regular updates. The company announced this week that it now offers end-to-end encryption for all users rather than just paying subscribers.

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2. Google Meet and Google Hangouts

Google rebranded its 'Hangouts Meet" video conference app to "Google Meet" in April during the COVID-19 pandemic. A spokesperson told FOX Business that Google is adding roughly 3 million new users a day to Google Meet, and Meet's daily meeting participants have surpassed 100 million.

While Hangouts, a free service that has been available since 2013, has much higher app-store ratings than Meet, Google made "Meet" (previously only a paid service in G Suite) free and available to anyone with an email address in May, offering a competitor video app to Zoom.

Meet allows paying subscribers to host 250 participants and offers 60-minute long conferences and is offering free 60-minute meetings of up to 100 participants through Sept. 30. Businesses, schools and organizations can also live-stream an event to up to 100 viewers.

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3. Cisco WebEx

Cisco WebEx, founded in 1995 as a workplace collaboration app, has been widely adopted by business professionals in the U.S. and around the world. WebEx is included with Cisco Meetings, a workplace organization platform.

WebEx users can share screens, documents and virtual whiteboard writing over the platform for free. Additionally, users who do not pay a subscription fee can host up to 100 people on a video call that can last up to 50 minutes.

Paid subscriptions come with more storage options, call-in audio, 24/7 customer service, unlimited meeting time and more.

4. Skype

Skype, which launched in 2003, has made a big name for itself over the years as a video-meeting app.

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The free, Microsoft-owned video-conference app has been used for a number of purposes, including school, business and virtual social gatherings. It offers end-to-end encrypted messaging, HD video quality, live subtitles for presentations, screen-sharing capabilities and more.

Users can make calls from all over the world for free, or they can purchase a subscription plan if they want unlimited calls without time caps to landline numbers and mobile where applicable.

5. BlueJeans

Verizon announced plans to acquire BlueJeans, founded in 2009, in April during the pandemic for $500 million.

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The telecommunications company took interest in the video-conferencing app's appeal to small and large businesses.

This app is the only one out of the five featured that is not free and did not offer a free service during the pandemic. with a $9.99/month option, users can host up to 50 people for an unlimited amount of time, and users can record for up to five hours.

With a $13.99/moth subscription, users can host up to 75 participants, record calls for up to 25 hours and integrates material from Microsoft Teams and Slack into meetings.

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