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Preparation for Later Life
Free Video Messaging Services

Free Video Messaging Services

As mentioned in a previous article, two of the biggest free video messaging services today are Skype and FaceTime. When used correctly, they can be a means of maintaining and perhaps even improving your social life through easy to use interfaces that enable you to be a few clicks of a button away from seeing and hearing those dearest to you. They could be down the road or on another continent, whether it be your children, grandchildren, siblings or even just friends, having a free way to converse can be invaluable when you are unable to meet in person. 

Starting with Skype, this gives you a more broad scope of use as it is not limited to the operating systems offered by Apple (as FaceTime is). It could be too late to meet up with a friend, you can use Skype. Phone calls are too expensive (especially those placed overseas), Skype. Want a chance to actually see your family member and not just hear their voice? Skype can give you the flexibility you need when trying to stay social. This is of course still true with FaceTime, but as mentioned above has the added ease of being more accessible to more people.

So, what exactly is Skype? Many may be familiar with at least the concept, others may have never heard of it. Simply put, it is a piece of software that enables you to stay in touch for free through voice and video messaging (as well as a text to text messaging option) with those you wish to do so with. All you both need is a computer (with the obvious basics like an internet connection, keyboard, etc.), a webcam (if you wish to do video messaging), some sort of microphone (some laptops have them built in but generally you may want to just go ahead and buy a headset) and that’s about it. With a phone or tablet then all you should need is the device itself (with an internet connection) as it contains all the necessary tools needed such as speakers, microphone, screen, camera, etc. Now there is a paid aspect to this which as far as I understand revolves around calling people’s actually phone numbers, in this article I am talking specifically about the free part which still gives you the capability to call people’s PCs, laptops, tablets and even phones, through your Skype account to theirs.

Now, to call someone using this software you both need it downloaded on your device. You would also need to download the version that matched your operating system, whether it be Windows, Mac or Linux on a desktop or laptop, or iOS or Android on a phone or tablet. But this is fairly straightforward, but leads me on to FaceTime which is arguably easier to use, but with that ease there is limits to who you can use it with.

In the previous paragraph I discussed the different operating systems you can download Skype onto, but with FaceTime the choices are Mac or iOS (depending on whether you are using a Mac/MacBook or an iPhone/iPad). Now with all these devices they will probably have FaceTime preloaded onto it, all you need to do is sign in and you’re off. FaceTime also has many of the uses that Skype does and is just an alternative for those on Apple operating systems. Personally that is what I use due to its smoothness and simple interface and due to the widespread use of Apple devices all the family I want to stay in touch with through video I can using FaceTime. 

Overall this article was meant to highlight and give a slightly more in depth look at using free video messaging services for your own benefit and to point out two of the most popular ones available which can be acquired and utilised with relative ease by the general public. 
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