Zoom gained a huge traction in a short span of time as several people are working from home due to the coronavirus outbreak. The video conference app pulled in more than 200 million daily active users last month — significantly up from a maximum of 10 million users previously. However, despite its skyrocketing growth, Zoom has been under fire over security concerns. From schools and officials to various governments, people have been asked to refrain from using the app. The Indian government also recently warned its officials about the Zoom. Also, some of its users have alleged that the app sends data to third parties located in China.
That being said, its key features such as being able to video-conference with up to 100 people for free (up to 500 participants in paid plans) and recording support make the Zoom app a great solution for virtual meetings. The app is also available across platforms and can enable video calling through mobile devices. But if you don’t trust Zoom and are look for capable alternatives, you’re in the right place.
Here, we are listing top five free alternatives to the Zoom app to help with your video calling needs.
Cisco Webex Meetings
Cisco is offering free access to its Webex Meetings in all countries where it is available to support the work from home needs during the coronavirus outbreak. Despite being available as free, you’ll get all enterprise features including unlimited usage with no time restrictions, support for up to 100 participants, and a toll dial-in in addition to Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) capabilities. All you need is to sign up on the Cisco Webex portal to get started with the Webex Meetings. Overall, the experience that’s been offered by Cisco is nowhere limited when comparing with Zoom.
Skype Meet Now
For users who don’t to go with an highly enterprise-focussed solution like Cisco Webex, Microsoft recently brought Skype Meet Now that serves as an alternative to Zoom. It works without requiring an account and supports up to 50 participants — all for free. You’ll also get features such as the ability to record calls, blur background before entering the call, and screen sharing. Moreover, you just need to visit the dedicated webpage to begin with Skype Meet Now.
If you don’t want a solution just to make video calls, you can look at Microsoft Teams. It is also available for free during the pandemic. The free version brings unlimited chat and search, group and one-on-one audio and video calling, and 10GB of team file storage along with 2GB of personal file storage per person. If you already have an Office 365 account, you’ll get real-time collaboration with Office apps for Web, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
Discord has also emerged as a strong alternative to Zoom, thanks to its video conferencing capabilities that let you connect with up to 50 participants at once. The platform is popular amongst gamers, though you can use it as a tool to communicate with your office team or some friends. You can also download its mobile app to connect with your contacts using your smartphone. There are also features to share your screen or perform voice calls. Just like other free alternatives to Zoom, Discord provides video conferencing at no cost. You just need to sign up on the Discord site or through its app to get started with your virtual conferences.
If you don’t want to use Discord for any reason, you can opt for Google Hangouts, which is also a decent, free alternative to Zoom. You can make video calls with up to 10 participants or chat with up to 150 participants at once. Google also lets you host video calls or talk with your colleagues through text messages using a mobile device. Further, being a Google product, Hangouts just needs your Gmail account to let you get started. If you are open to pay, you’ll be able to increase the limit for video calls to up to 25 participants as well.
What else you can look at as an alternative to Zoom
Since video conferencing isn’t new, there are several other solutions in the market that can cater to your demand. You can get Google Hangouts Meet that is available for free for all G Suite users until July 1 and provides features such as up to 250 participants per call, live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain, and the ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive. If a Google solution isn’t something you want for your conversations, you can consider Jitsi Meet that can be accessed through your desktop or laptop or using a mobile device. You can also connect it with your Slack. There are also paid solutions such as Zoho Meeting and GoToMeeting that you can get for free under a trial.
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DPC says Schrems must clarify plans for Facebook complaint documents as matter of ‘urgency’
Solicitor’s letter issued to Schrems relates to an ongoing dispute over a privacy complaint against Facebook relating to GDPR
The DPC is currently investigating a complaint made against Facebook by an Austrian citizen with the help of Noyb, a privacy group set up by Max Schrems. Picture: Bloomberg
Ireland’s data watchdog has asked Max Schrems, the Austrian privacy campaigner, to clarify “as a matter of some urgency” the details of documents he plans to publish relating to a privacy complaint against Facebook.
In fresh correspondence, issued on behalf of the Data Protection Commission (DPC) by Philip Lee Solicitors, Schrems’s Noyb group is asked to identify the documents it has promised to release over the coming month in what it…
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The RNC Is Raising Funds Off Trump’s New Social-Media Platform
Former President Donald Trump’s businesses have pocketed at least $2.8 million from the Republican National Committee. Now the RNC seems to be flipping the script.
Two weeks after Trump announced plans to launch a social-media platform named Truth Social, the RNC sent out a fundraising blast telling supporters that any donation would qualify them as a “Trump Social Media Founding Supporter.” There’s no mention of what, if anything, comes with that designation.
Spokespeople for the RNC and former president have not replied to inquiries.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, a separate group, also is using Trump’s new venture to bring in money The NRSC’s ad doesn’t offer any special memberships, but it does ask would-be donors, “Would you join Trump’s Platform?” Meanwhile the National Republican Congressional Committee is growing its mailing list with ads pegged to Trump’s social-media app.
The RNC’s solicitation also includes pre-checked boxes that would make the contribution reoccur monthly.
First seen at: https://zacheverson.com/
Facebook whistleblower to testify in European Parliament – EU Reporter
The EU’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic is Parliament’s priority for the EU’s budget for next year. Find out more in our interview with MEP Karlo Ressler (pictured).
The Parliament is currently negotiating the EU’s 2022 budget with the Council. Croatian EPP member Ressler, who is responsible for guiding the legislation through Parliament, explains Parliament’s priorities:
What are the Parliament’s priorities for the EU’s 2022 budget?
The number one priority is to support the recovery from the Covid-19 crisis and also, and this is really connected, to lay the foundation for a more resilient Union. We want to invest in a vibrant economy to help small and medium-sized companies and in employment, especially for young people. The second priority would be to continue with the digital and green transformation. Thirdly, we want to develop a strong, healthy union.
We also want to focus specifically on the younger generation and our children. Here Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps are maybe the two most visible examples, but in the end most of our programmes are directly or indirectly also focusing on young people.
It’s important to really be strong and unified here in the Parliament, because in that way, we can get better results in the negotiations with the Council.
How do you expect the budget to speed up the recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic?
After the crisis, we have to be ambitious. We have to invest. That’s the basic idea. In practical terms that means investing more and assisting those who have been affected the most. In this context, we believe in effectively supporting SMEs all over Europe. This is something fairly tangible.
How can the budget help, for example, to address the situation in Afghanistan that suddenly developed?
We attempt to address it by investing more in humanitarian aid. That was the main purpose of one of the biggest amendments by the European Parliament. I think that all the institutions agree that these are unforeseen developments, that the world is really changing fast, and that we cannot ignore all those changes. We will have to work closely with the Commission and the Council to try to find a solution. We are still waiting for a real concrete proposal by the Commission, but we attempt to address it primarily through a special line on humanitarian aid for Afghan people and for the neighboring countries.
This year has witnessed unforeseen challenges like the current energy price hike, Afghanistan and environmental disasters. Is it becoming trickier to decide on an annual EU budget as a lot of money to deal with unexpected situations has to be put aside?
I would say yes. It’s difficult for the EU when we have a pandemic and it’s the biggest crisis of our generation. It has made us understand that we have to be more resilient. We have to be prepared to act swiftly and it’s impossible to act swiftly without adequate financing.
At the same time, we hope that we have created a budget that is tailor-made for all: that addresses the problems of all generations, regions and sectors. We know that the consequences of the pandemic have been asymmetrical and that’s why it has been important to translate our political priorities into real figures.
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