Before the quarantine, I remember the days when people used to say, “Technology is keeping us apart”. At some point, I agreed with that statement. People spent more time on their phone apps than having real-life conversations; I admit I was guilty of that as well.
Ironic to think that the one thing that was keeping us apart from each other is now bringing us closer.
Now that we are forced to self-isolate, practice social distancing, and lose all human contact, technology is our best ally.
Luckily before the COVID-19 crisis happened, we already had access to a bunch of unique apps and tools that allowed us to stay connected with people around the world. These applications helped us stay in touch with our loved ones even if they were miles apart.
Not being able to see each other face to face doesn’t mean we have to lose touch. I want to help you stay connected with people during self-isolation by talking about my favorite apps.
I’ve used them for years since I work remotely since 2015, and I’m continually looking for ways to communicate with people that are not in the same country as I am.
Here are my top 10 unique apps to help you stay connected with your loved ones during the quarantine.
Time to make room for some unique apps during the quarantine. 📱
This is one of the best video chat applications. Tons of remote companies use them to have virtual meetings or host live webinars.
Zoom video calls can host up to 100 people at one time if you’re going for the free version, and you can host even more participants with the paid version, which is only $14.99 a month.
So if you have a big family or a large group of friends, you can all be in the same call at once.
The free version gives you 45 minutes max, if you want to stay longer, you’d have to create a different meeting link.
Some of my favorite features of the app are:
You can access Zoom from a computer or your phone by downloading the app.
Coronavirus has taken away from us simple activities such as having a movie night at your friend’s house.
Netflix took this as an opportunity and used technology to allow people to have group movie nights.
They recently launched a chrome extension called Netflix Party. All you have to do is download it and start watching movies with friends across the world.
You’ll see the image below says “remove from Chrome” since I already have it installed, but if you haven’t, the blue button should say “add to Chrome.”
You’ll notice an extension on your top bar that says NP. 👩💻
To be able to use it, just click on the extension, and you’ll notice it’ll turn red. Once the logo is on red, share the link of the movie or series with your friends and ask them to enter.
You’ll be able to see the same screen and have a real-time conversation with the side chat bar.
Google Hangouts is pretty similar to Zoom. It’s a different tool that also allows you to host live video chats.
If you have a google account, you’ll be able to use it for free and without any complications.
All you have to do is add the Chrome extension. You can have up to 150 people at one time. 😱
This is one of the best-known apps for video chat. It’s been on for quite some time, and I recommend using it if you’re are going to be using your phone or on an iPad.
It allows up to 32 people in one call, but I recommend using FaceTime with up to 4 people.
An important thing to mention is that FaceTime is only available for Apple and only in between iPhone users.
Whatsapp is a free app that allows you to not only chat in real-time but also place calls without charge and make video calls with anyone in the world.
The great thing about Whatsapp is that it is functional in every country, and you can use it through any smartphone.
Pro Tip: Make sure that you have a functioning wifi connection when you place a phone or video call. WhatsApp calls do require good wifi to go smoothly.
All of us have these three or at least one of these apps installed on our phones: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
You might use one more than the others and have a favorite one, but at the end of the day, you check each of them at least once every day.
These apps have their functionalities, but they all help us stay connected with the world and those around us.
With Facebook, we’re able to see pictures, videos, and updates from our loved ones and our favorite brands. We’re also able to read the latest news and read interesting articles shared by our network.
With Instagram, we’re able to see what our friends are doing 24/7. IG Stories and IG TV have allowed us to record our day-to-day activities and share them with our followers.
Instagram has enabled the IG Live feature, which allows us to see real-life broadcasts from our favorite artists, brands, or people we look up to.
I watch my coaches live now that we can’t go to the gym and follow their routines from my home.
With Twitter, we’re able to read the latest news and updates almost instantly. Twitter is the best platform to check for specific updates and follow a specific trend.
I’m now following everything related to #coronavirus or #covid19, and I get alerts with the latest news.
These three are not necessarily the best apps to have online chats or video calls, although Facebook and Twitter allow you to. They are great to stay updated with the latest news and trends and still feel like you’re part of your friend’s and families’ lives even though you’re not together.
If you downloaded Houseparty recently, you probably deleted it from your phone soon after that. There was a rumor going on that the app had a virus, and you could get your phone or computer hacked through the app.
Both Zoom and Houseparty became extremely popular as soon as the Coronavirus started spreading.
Houseparty representatives have stated that the app is safe and that it was all a rumor.
“We are investigating indications that the recent hacking rumors were spread by a paid commercial smear campaign to harm Houseparty,”
Epic Games, owner of Houseparty, offered a $1,000,000 bounty to anyone who could provide proof of such a campaign.
“We have spent the past few weeks feeling humbled and grateful that we can be such a large part of bringing people together during such a hard time.”
Houseparty allows you to have group video calls with your friends and family. The unique feature of the app is that you can share fun activities, like playing games or taking quizzes with everyone on the call.
With Houseparty, you can still have a game night on Fridays! 🎲
Skype has also been around the block for quite some time now. It’s the best-known video chat app there is.
Skype allows you to have video chat and voice calls between computers, tablets, mobile devices, the Xbox One Console, Alexa, and smartwatches over the Internet.
One of the great things that Skype has is that you can call regular phone numbers for lower rates, even internationally using Skype Credit.
Yes, you can connect with people across the globe through video games!
Most video games allow their users to compete against other players across the world in real-time sessions. You can share screens, chat, and even video chat with other players.
It’s a great way to connect with people that have your same interests.
Fortnite (across all devices) Read our review
Clash Royale (smart devices) Read our review
Overcooked 2 (PC, Switch, PS4, XBOX)
Animal Crossing (Nintendo Switch)
Minecraft (across all devices)
I’m sure there are a lot more out there, if you know any other, share it on the comments below and let’s start a conversation.
Talking about video games, Discord is the ultimate chat room for gamers.
The app was designed to help gamers talk to each other in real-time while playing any game.
You can either have voice, chat, or video conversations with literally 250 million players, which is the current number of users from the platform.
And if you’re wondering, yes, the app is free! 🥳
We’re lucky we live in an era where all of these online tools and apps are available to us and allow us to stay connected even without being able to see each other.
Imagine going through a pandemic like the one in 1918 when they didn’t even have phones to know what was going on with their family (who, by the way, only lived a few blocks away from them).
We’re going through one of the hardest years of our lives, but we’re all in this together. Let’s face this crisis with a positive attitude, and let’s take advantage of all the benefits the technology allows us to have.
Maybe this time apart was all we needed; we’re appreciating things a lot more! After all of this is gone, I can assure you, we’ll appreciate people, conversations, and sharing a simple cup of coffee with our colleagues a lot more!
So what do you think about these unique apps? How are is your experience going so far in quarantine, have you been enjoying it? Let us know what you have on your mind in the comment section below.
I hope that you’re all doing well, staying indoors, and being safe. Spend time with your loved ones and be thankful for all that you have. I know we’re living in trying times right now because of the Coronavirus, but we’ll get through this together. Remember to wash your hands! 🧼💕
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