Video conferencing

Video chats for meetings and the like. One-on-one services... we have that sorted. In particular most chat clients seem to go at least OK-ish. Maybe check out someone else’s listing if you want to get in-depth here.

Also Hangouts, Zoom…, Red Dead Redemption

More interesting video conferencing

Benedict Evans Solving online events

A conference, or an ‘event’, is a bundle. There is content from a stage, with people talking or presenting or doing panels and maybe taking questions. Then, everyone talks to each other in the hallways and over coffee and lunch and drinks. […] there are all of the meetings that you schedule because everyone is there. At a really big ‘conference’ many people don’t even go to the actual event itself. […]

The only part of that bundle that obviously works online today is the content. It’s really straightforward to turn a conference presentation or a panel into a video stream, but none of the rest is straightforward at all.

First, we haven’t worked out good online tools for many of the reasons people go to these events. Most obviously, we don’t have any software tool for bumping into people in the same field by random chance and having a great conversation. No-one has ever really managed to take a networking event and put it online.[…] In other words, some conferences are built around creating a network in the hallways. If you take them online, there are no hallways.

Webb on Simulating coffee-table encounters mentions an example of simulated hallway encounters.

Robert Fabricant We’re in a golden age of UX. Why is video chat still stuck in the ’90s?

Also, who decided that a scrolling, vertical feed was the right way to represent the comments and input from the broader group of participants in Zoomland? What if our questions hung in the air around our heads (like thought bubbles) until we felt that they were sufficiently addressed? What if the other participants could migrate closer to us to show that they too, want to discuss that issue or topic? Perhaps the speech bubble could grow if others “join” and begin to crowd into the video window of the person who is leading the discussion until they respond?


mmhmm is a multi-person-presentation-oriented app.


Jitsi is open source and free, and the only one here which makes an attempt to protect your data from the company which hosts it. It’s browser based and requires no downloads on desktop.

Go ahead, video chat with the whole team. In fact, invite everyone you know. Jitsi Meet is a fully encrypted, 100% open source video conferencing solution that you can use all day, every day, for free — with no account needed.

I would like to know about the moderation features.

Having used it successfully I recommend it; I handles unlimited length meetings unlike commercial competitors. I am told it can in practice handle up to 35-ish participants. It will permit up to 75 to attempt to meet.


Lozya is a video conferencing app which also simulates a virtual space in which to conference, so you can hide in a corner and talk with your mates. It is cute but I know little else about it.


Zoom seems to be the current default. It is famed for its lackadaisical approach to confidentiality users and their conversations:

Zoom’s privacy page states: “Whether you have Zoom account or not, we may collect Personal Data from or about you when you use or otherwise interact with our Products.” This includes, but is not limited to, your physical address, phone number, your job title, credit and debit card information, your Facebook account, your IP address, your OS and device details, and more."

It has been caught covertly tracking you for Facebook. (UPDATE: Fixed when busted.) It actively monitors content in some ill-explained way. There has been such a copious fountain of zoom security gaffes that zoom-bashing feels like a thriving industry in its own right. The latest zoom-basher is the company’s own CEO who admitted they intend to monitor users.

Corporate clients will get access to Zoom’s end-to-end encryption service now being developed, but Yuan said free users won't enjoy that level of privacy, which makes it impossible for third parties to decipher communications.

“Free users for sure we don't want to give that because we also want to work together with FBI, with local law enforcement in case some people use Zoom for a bad purpose,” Yuan said on the call.

As with Skype, you can reduce the harm of this bit of spyware by not using the app, instead opting to keep the video chat sandboxed in your browser. Regardless of such precautions, it, like skype, is not end-to-end encrypted so you should expect your calls to get intercepted by nation-state or other in addition to whatever the company does internally with your data.


Skype is elderly video software whose major advantage is inertia. Downsides include the fact that it is honeypot spyware, that reads your passwords and records your messages for unaccountable american surveillance programs. But you have some colleagues who are determined to use it, of course. You could run it in a docker jail, but it is probably simpler to use the web client. This will still let them monitor your calls, but at least it won’t waste your disk space or require you to install their suspect dumpster fire app.