The deadly coronavirus has made a re-entry in most places and many nations have slowly retreated into lockdown. Social distancing practices are being followed stringently too, making virtual hangouts and online meet-ups the long-term plan. Video chatting platforms are the best way to have these social gatherings. They help you to stay in touch with family and friends scattered all across the globe and also to make new friends and find partners. In fact, many of these apps work beautifully for dating. Now people want to make video chatting more than just a medium of seeing and talking to each other. They want it to be a way to socialize, have fun, and entertain each other and themselves. Because of this, many of the apps have come up with innovative features to make chatting livelier and more interactive. Let’s find out about these cool, immersive options that are poised to change the way you communicate.
- Lively chat rooms
Bored of being in a one-on-one chat session with people you know? Don’t worry! nPopular video chatting apps like Paltalk have something interesting to help: public chat rooms. These chat rooms are perfect for an extrovert wishing to socialize and indulge in conversation with many people at the same time. Paltalk allows you to start live group video conversations or to find new people to talk with. You can join one of their thousands of live group chat rooms and meet strangers from around the world. You can use these chat rooms to network professionally, too. Be it debating about politics status or discussing a winter hair care regime, these chat rooms give you ample of topics to discuss and debate.
- Fun video filters and effects
Want to enhance your looks before a virtual date night or prep a formal look for the next office meeting? Video chatting apps like Paltalk have unique video filters that can amp up your style and make you look great. Hide those blemishes and make your hair look more voluminous with these filters. You can even change your video style from retro to contemporary and more.
Some video chat apps like Tango for Android users and iChat for Mac users also allow you to distort your image, something akin to a fun-house mirror. You can have a grayscale effect or frog eyes with a click of a button. Prepare for some fun while chatting with your mates.
- Voice filters
Some of the video chatting apps not only have interesting video filters to make you look different, but they also have voice filters. You can apply these filters to your voice and fool around with friends. Some of the popular apps with this feature are Kakao Talk, Twitch and Telegram. Try a voice filter to trick your pal the next time and watch the fun.
- Game Night with pals
Video chat game nights with friends are a great way to spend weekends. Even though now you cannot do this activity in person, there are many apps that have exciting games that you can play remotely, have competitions, and also win rewards. For instance, the Bunch app lets you and your friends’ group video chat while playing games like virtual Monopoly, pool, Uno, Scrabble, and more. Try out Houseparty for some more exciting games. Explore games for both kids and adults and convert a boring weekend into one filled with activities.
- Virtual holiday
Enjoy holidays through the virtual medium as you walk around discovering new places on a virtual world tour with family and friends. Use programs like Personify and create a digital space for chatting with friends while exploring a new holiday destination virtually.
- Binge on movies
You can make video chatting a whole lot of fun watching interesting shows together or catching up on that movie you had wanted to watch in the movie hall but cannot due to the COVID – 19 pandemic. The Discord app has a live streaming option that’s perfect for this. All you have to do is join a voice room and click on Go Live and select the browser to stream from. Just ensure that the movie or show you want to watch is already loaded on the browser. You can also use other video streaming apps like Kast and watch popular shows on Netflix and YouTube videos together with friends. For the real movie theatre effect, keep some popcorn and coca cola on the side.
- Gifts and stickers
Break the ice with strangers or make your friends and family feel special with virtual gifts and stickers available on the video chatting apps. These stickers are great conversation starters and also help break the monotony of basic conversation as they create a friendly atmosphere right away. Check out Paltalk’s exclusive Gifts and Stickers that allow you to send a gift to a stranger or make friends easily with someone. You can use the stickers to showcase a variety of emotions in a fun and engaging way. Always look for apps with a huge collection of these virtual images that will make your online communication more interactive and enjoyable.
- Sharing of files, audios and videos
You can make video chatting more real by sharing your favorite YouTube videos or SoundCloud clips in public chat rooms or even while having a one-on-one conversation with somebody. Paltalk has a special feature called MediaPal that makes sharing such files fast and easy. This feature is great in the current times of social distancing. It creates a sense of belonging through the virtual medium. In fact, you can create your favorite playlist and share it through these video chatting platforms to enjoy with others. You can do the same with interesting videos and documents, too.
- Add new backgrounds
Make your friends and family think that you are calling from outer space or from a lone island in the Maldives with the new backdrop change features in many video chatting apps. You can choose from various backdrops offered on the app and have fun as you change the scenery. This adds a new layer to your conversation and can be a topic to discuss with family and strangers alike.
- Disguise yourself
Have fun with your friends and family as you appear dressed like a cowboy or your favorite Star Wars character or superhero. Many apps like Google Hangouts allow you to have a digital makeover. You can choose from the props available on the app and disguise yourself before the next virtual bash-up with friends. You could even have a theme party and ask all your friends to come dressed in a different avatar to make it different and more enjoyable.
- 3D Masks
Want to make your conversations with your friends funny and exciting? Try out the 3D masks that many apps offer. ICQ has some interesting ones that can make any celebration more festive. Check out the Halloween masks of a creepy clown, horrible pumpkin, suspicious alien, and many more. These spooky masks are sure to bring on the Halloween cheer. Take a selfie picture with the masks and make a group call to your friends and trick or treat them with it. You can further enhance these masks using the built-in editor. Create endless memories and share them on social media.
Do’s and don’ts while choosing video chatting apps
Before getting lured by all these fun and exciting features, you must do a thorough review of the video chatting apps and their security features. Check these boxes before deciding on any one particular app.
- Security features
Always read about the security features of the app before deciding on downloading it. Chats should be end-to-end encrypted. The app should have stringent firewalls as well, so no fraudulent activity takes place.
Often people are not comfortable sharing their personal information with others. Many video chatting platforms allow you to maintain your anonymity as a user, so look out for such apps
- Multilingual feature
Chatting online opens up the world for you to connect with, so why would you want to be restricted by language? Engage in only those apps with multilingual features, letting you speak freely in the language in which you are comfortable.
- Easy shareability
The best way to make online conversations more interactive is through the sharing of videos, images, audio, and files. Look out for apps that allow you to do that easily and safely.
Must-haves for enjoying video chatting features uninterrupted
Now that you know how to shortlist video chatting apps and what kind of features to look for while choosing these apps, it is pertinent to have certain essentials to make video chatting effortless and seamless. Here is a list of the must-haves.
- Conducive environment for video chatting
In today’s times of very limited or no social contact, video chatting is the best way to connect with the outside world. Hence, it must be given priority and importance. Ensure that while video chatting, you have a good environment to talk freely with the person and give them your complete attention. Sit in a closed space where no one can disturb you. Ensure that the background is clean and uncluttered. Also, ascertain that there is enough lighting in the room so that your image is clear. Wear headphones so that you can hear the person clearly without getting distracted by outside noise and the other person can also hear you properly without feedback on their end. Remember that this is your ‘me time’ and you need to create a good ambiance to enjoy it to the fullest.
- Good internet speed
For any video chatting app to work properly and continuously you must have a stable Internet connection with fast speed. Ideally, a broadband connection is perfect as it gives good bandwidth to share files, videos, and audio. It also allows for seamless video chatting.
- HD quality webcam and earphones
Most of the smart gadgets come with built-in cameras that can be used for video chatting, but they usually have a low resolution. This can make your image blurred and the video choppy. If you are going to use video chatting apps for both personal and professional use, it is best to buy an external HD image webcam. It is also equally essential to have good quality headphones as it keeps the conversations private and also enhances the audio quality.
- Compatibility of app with gadget
Keep your smart gadget always updated, be it a smartphone, laptop, tablet, or a computer. This will increase the speed of the device and help in downloading the apps faster without taking up too much space in memory. Ensure that the gadget you use can run on any operating system, including Windows, iOS, and others for better streaming and faster connection.
Also, ensure that you download the latest version of the video chatting app. This will make the app faster, more efficient, and less resource-hogging.
Staying connected when far apart is of prime importance for your mental health. The best way to do so in today’s time of COVID – 19 and social distancing is through video chatting apps. The main aim of these platforms is to provide the users freedom to connect with whoever they want to and maintain relationships. However, people are now quite bored with regular video and audio chatting. They want something more entertaining out of these apps. These fun features are great as they make conversations more meaningful and interesting. Download any of the apps with exciting features and add some zest to the dull and gloomy winters.