The way in which we communicate has changed dramatically over the past century. In the early 1900s, sending letters through the mail was the primary means by which we stayed in touch with each other. Following the invention of the telegraph, we were able to speed up this process. Next came the telephone, which was followed by the mobile phone, allowing us to call and text and communicate with each other instantly from anywhere in the world. But video chat, a 21st century invention, has truly revolutionized the way in which we communicate with one another.
Skype, founded in 2003, is an application that provides users with the ability to video chat and voice call. The application is available in 108 languages and is an efficient way to contact people internationally. Until the creation of FaceTime, I would use Skype to interact with friends and family who lived abroad. Many companies use Skype to interview job applicants. Instead of having a potential employee come to the office, businesses can conduct online interviews anywhere in the world. In the late 2000s, Skype began to take off as an application and its number of users began to increase dramatically. However, since FaceTime became a permanent iPhone application, Skype has become less popular among the younger generation of technology users.
FaceTime is a proprietary application of Apple Inc. that allows its users to video chat with other iPhone, iPad, or Mac users. As of 2015, 94 million Americans owned an iPhone. With Apple’s large consumer base, FaceTime has become a widely used application, surpassing Skype among the younger generation of individuals because it is more easily accessible. Other than texting, FaceTime is the primary means by which I contact my friends. I find it more intimate than calling. Everyone who owns an iPhone has FaceTime, while only those who choose to download Skype and create an account have access to it. There is no need for FaceTime users to create an account for the application because their Apple ID and iCloud accounts are already saved in their iPhones.
Google Hangout is a great way to study collaboratively for a test. Everyone with a Gmail account has access to Google Hangout. Using this application, I can video chat with upwards of 10 people. At my school, teachers will often hold Google Hangout review sessions before assessments, in which the whole class will join a conference video chat to go over material and ask the teacher questions. There are two features that Google Hangout has that are unique. First, Google Hangout has a chat room, where users can text messages to one another during the call. This is useful because I can send documents and important notes to my classmates and they can view these materials without leaving the chat room. Also, Google Hangout has a built-in microphone sensor that allows the camera to shift its focus to the person who is currently speaking. Unlike other forms of video chat, in Google Hangout, users are not portrayed as the same size by the interface singulair allergy medicine. Rather, the camera detects who is speaking and focuses on him or her. This feature is especially useful during class review sessions because the camera will shift to the professor when he or she is speaking rather than show every student in the class.
Finally, Houseparty is a new application that has become popular among America’s younger generation. This iPhone application allows users to video chat with up to eight people at once. Houseparty is similar to Google Hangout, but is made especially for smartphones. It is good for video chatting with a large group of people. Using this application, you can video chat with your contacts and also do so with your contacts’ contacts. And anyone can join anyone else’s chat if the “private” feature is not activated. For example, I can join a chat between five people I do not know, which I find strange. There are two key advantages to using the application. First, a user can video chat with more than one person at once while retaining the quality of the video. But as the number of people in the chatroom increases, the square allocated to each user become smaller. Also, the application allows its users to meet new people through video chatting.
Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangout, and Houseparty have all revolutionized the way in which we communicate with each other. We can video chat with a family member or a friend anytime of the day from anywhere in the world, and now, we can even talk to someone we have never met before. I support these technological advancements because I believe that video chatting is a much more intimate means of communication than calling. I feel like I am in the room with the person or group of people on the other end. What do all of you think?