Best Free Video Chat Providers

Video chat is a way to talk to anyone, virtually anywhere in the world, at any time. It is a great way for families to stay connected, soldiers to stay in touch with loved ones and a way to see friends people have made online. Free video chat providers have made it so people can connect across the globe in a much more interactive and cheap manner than using a telephone. Listed here are the best free video chat providers on the internet today. You will need an account with any of these providers before chatting. Each has a website and instructions on how to set up an account and add contacts with whom to video chat.

Google.com

Google video and voice chat is a download from Google that works in gmail, iGoogle, orkut and now from Google+. To start using Google chat, download the free software from their site .  There is a blue button in the top right of the download page that says, “Install voice and video chat.” Follow the installation prompts from your PC from there. Once it downloads, chat will be available on the aforementioned platforms.

The link to begin chat is in your contacts list on gmail, orkut and iGoogle. Go into contacts. There will be a camera to the left of contacts who can video chat with you. In gmail, point your mouse at the contact and then click “Video and More” to the upper right of the contact. A drop down will appear. Select “Start a Video Chat” from that dropdown menu. In iGoogle, start a text chat, then click “start a video chat” from the chat box’s actions menu.

In Google+, there is a link in the right hand column that says, “Start a Hangout.” Click that link. A pop up will appear that allows you to invite friends to the hangout. Select the friends that you would like to include in the hangout and wait for them to accept your invitation. The screen will show you and all of your friends on webcam. There will be one large screen and additional smaller screens below. To display a friend in the large screen, click on their smaller screen below.

Yahoo

Yahoo! Messenger has a video chat feature for versions 10 and later. Click “actions” in Yahoo! Messenger and then “Invite Conference.” Select which friend you want to invite to chat. You can add more than one, if you wish. Like Google video chat, Yahoo! Messenger offers the option to use text for your messaging while using the video function, in case you need to chat quietly. Yahoo! Mail has a text messenger built in. However, this will not allow the same video functionality of the full Yahoo! Messenger.

Skype

Skype is perhaps the most popular of all web chats. People use it for business and personal life. Some jobs even require access to Skype for telecommuters. An interesting feature of Skype is an option to make phone calls online. This feature does cost money. However, the internet video and voice chat features are free.

To use Skype, you must first download Skype software .  Click on the button below “Skype free” and follow your PC’s download instructions. Create a contact list in Skype (this will conveniently include your facebook friends, if you connect). When you want to chat, click on a contact and a screen with a green link will appear. Click the green “video chat” link and it will start a Skype video call.

Facebook

Facebook is easily the most popular social network site on the internet at this time. It has a text chat and a video chat option for its users. From your facebook account, click on the “Chat” bar on the lower right hand side of the page. A list of contacts to chat with will pop up. Click on the friend with whom you would like to chat. A chat box will pop up. On the top of the chat box, there is a camera icon. If hovering over the icon tells you that particular friend is available to chat, click it and start your video chat.

For all of the above chats to work, a user has to have video and talk capabilities on their computer. If the computer does not have an integrated webcam and microphone, you will need to purchase a webcam and a microphone for your computer. Make sure both are installed and turned on before chatting. The installation instructions for the webcam and the microphone should come with the devices. Follow the instructions and then set up an account with the chat provider you would like to use to get started.

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