These days, phone calls aren't always the best way to communicate with others. Maybe you need to reach people out of the country, or you simply want to have a more visual conversation. Either way, there's a reason why video calling has become so popular.
Only downside is, the other party also needs the app and login credentials. Today, I'm going to show you a way to video chat without the need to download software or sign in to a service.
Appear.in allows you to have video conversations with up to 8 people directly from your web browser (Chrome, Firefox, and Opera are supported), without having to sign in. Just use a keyword, enter it into a text box on the website, click Create, and you've got yourself a video conference room.
In your address bar, you'll see a unique URL exclusive to your room:
- appear.in/(your unique keyword)
Using "wonderhowto" as my keyword, I quickly created a room.
To add others to your group, share your video room link or simply give out the keyword you used. Once you start a chat, you can keep all video boxes one size...
Or click on the arrows in the corner of the video to enlarge the box or minimize to the corner of your window.
Along the bottom on the window you'll find a text box that you can use to message everyone in the group. When entering text, a small screenshot of the current still of your live feed will appear next to your message.
Along the top right of the site's page, there are options to lock a room, follow a room, and claim a room. With these options, you can keep others from entering your room or joining a room that is locked. If you claim a room, you can decide who enters the room as well as customize the background.
All-in-all, it took me a few seconds to get on Appear.in, enter a keyword, and share it with a few friends. Not having to download anything or sign up is a big deal for me as it helps my computer stay light, keeps my inbox from getting cluttered with spam, and makes for a quick and easy process to video chat with anyone I want.
If you have a iOS device, you can download Appear.in to go. You'll be able to create your own room and share the link with friends just like with the online version.
Appear.in is a great overall solution when you want a one-on-one or group video chat without the hassle of making sure all parties have the same client. It may not be as feature-rich as Skype or have the fun tools of Google Hangouts, but it gets the job done when the goal is to chat.