Technology to Stay Connected through COVID-19

April 20, 2020

With COVID-19 continuing to advance, and the order from national and local governments to stay home, many of us are not getting the same level of interaction with peers and loved ones. You may find yourself becoming bored or feeling lonely. Fortunately, there are a number of online and mobile resources that can help keep you connected and engaged virtually.

Here’s a list of online platforms that you can use to stay in touch with friends and loved ones. The table below includes information on available mediums and devices, compatible operating systems, associated costs (if any), and where you can find it to download. 

APPLICATION NAME

KEY FEATURES

AVAILABLE PLATFORM/DEVICE

COST

WHERE TO FIND IT

What’s App
Text message, video, and audio technology.
• Video and audio calls—can contact people in other countries
• Document sharing
• Record voice messages/notes
• End-to-end encryption for safety and privacy
• Mobile (iOS & Android) FREE Desktop (for Windows or Mac)
Apple Store (for iOS)
Google Play Store (for Android)
Zoom
Enterprise video conferencing with real-time messaging and content sharing. Please note: There have been some privacy concerns with Zoom that the company is working to resolve. For advice on how to best secure your call, try these best practices.  
• HD video and audio
• Unlimited 1 to 1 meetings
• 40 mins limit on group meetings
• Unlimited number of meetings
• Online support
• Recording and transcripts
• Group Collaboration Tools & Features
• End-to-end encryption
• Web
• Mobile (iOS & Android)
Basic Version: FREE Online
Apple Store (for iOS)
Google Play Store (for Android)
Messenger
A simple way to text, video chat, and plan things all in one place.
• Video and audio calls
• Chat
• Video conferencing features
• Location sharing
• Money sharing features
• Voice message options
• Web
• Mobile (iOS & Android)
FREE Apple Store (for iOS)
Google Play Store (for Android)
Google Duo
Simple, high quality video calls for smartphones, tablets, computers, and Smart Displays like the Google Nest Hub Max.
• Video and audio calls
• Has Knock Knock feature (live video preview of person calling you)
• Calls stay private with end-to-end encryption
• Web
• Desktop
• Mobile (iOS & Android)
FREE Web
Mobile (for Android & iOS)
Skype
Video-conference tool
• Video and audio calls
• HD video conferencing
• Get a Skype number to disguise personal number
• Call recording and Live subtitles
• Screen sharing
• Desktop
• Mobile
• Web
• Xbox
FREE to send messages and have audio and video calls with groups of up to 50 people. Desktop (for Windows or Mac)
Apple Store (for iOS)
Google Play Store (for Android)
Web
Facetime
Make video and audio calls from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
• Video and audio calls
• Use FaceTime Audio with Call Waiting
• Create your own or Memojis or use theirs
• Use FaceTime Live Photos
• Mobile (iOS & iPadOS) FREE Apple Store (for iOS & iPadOS)
Marco Polo
Texting, social media, and video chats.
• Video and audio calls
• Unlimited, and ad-free
• Group or 1:1 conversations
• Unlimited video storage
• Mobile (iOS& Android) FREE Apple Store (for iOS)
Google Play Store (for Android)

For more information on these tools, and others, read this fact sheet from the National Council on Aging.

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