What’s the limit on video calls on WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger, Zoom, Hangouts, Instagram and others

With an unprecedented lockdown shrouding the streets in silence, video calling and conferencing apps are the need of the hour. From trusted steady performers like WhatsApp and Skype to newly-emerged superstars, such as Zoom and Houseparty — there are plenty of runners in the race.

However, if you carefully sort these out, picking only the ones that serve your purposes, you’re likely to be left with one or two standout performers; apps that can take care of all your needs, making sure you’re not required to hop between applications.

In this piece, we’ll take a look at all such leading video calling and conferencing applications and help you pick out the one that fits.

Skype

Skype, as we all know, is one of the pioneers in the industry. Since its inception back in 2003, the Microsoft-owned application has been striving to make video calling as mainstream as possible, releasing user-friendly features in succession. The app doesn’t cost a dime, has text and voice call support, allows you to exchange media files, supports Snap Camera, and can facilitate up to 50 participants. There’s no time limit on group video calls.

If you want to facilitate more people, you could also opt for Skype for Business. It can host up to 250 people and is currently available for handheld devices — Android and iOS — only.

  • Cost: Free
  • Group video call limit: 50
  • Time limit: None
  • Download: Skype

WhatsApp

One of the leading instant messengers in the world, WhatsApp, has a pretty decent video calling platform. Sadly, the Facebook-owned application only supports up to four concurrent participants — a rather meek number when you take a look at the competition. Like Skype, WhatsApp, too, has voice call support, is free to use, and imposes no time limit on group video calls.

Update [April 28, 2020]: After bring it to its beta users last week, WhatsApp has finally started providing all of its users with the ability to make video calls to up to 8 people at a given time, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. You can get the functionality by simply updating the WhatsApp app from Google Play.

Update [April 21, 2020]: WhatsApp has started rolling out a new beta — 2.20.133— which can facilitate up to 8 people on a single group video call. As it’s also a server-side update, all WhatsApp beta users might not get the feature at the same time.]

  • Cost: Free
  • Group video call limit: 8
  • Time limit: None
  • Download: WhatsApp

Facebook Messenger

Despite owning one of the leading messenger application on the planet, Facebook is leaving no stone unturned to make its in-house Messenger‘s video calling platform as flawless as possible. It’s been a while since Facebook Messenger emerged as an addon to the original Facebook application, but the values have remained the same.

Messenger, like Facebook, is devoid of clutter, is free to use, and is as userfriendly as you’d like. It can connect you up to 49 people at once, with only six of those appearing on the screen. Facebook Messenger also has a handful of games, fun filters, and effects, guaranteeing fun-filled sessions. And of course, there’s no time limit on group video calls.

Google Duo

Google Duo, for all intents and purposes, is Google’s answer to Apple’s Facetime. It seamlessly integrates with your Phone app — shows Duo call logs for non-Pixel devices — delivers impeccable video quality, and is completely free to use.

Google Duo allows you to host up to 11 people at a time, has a toggle for improved low-light performance, and imposes no limit on group video calls. As it’s primarily a voice/video calling application, you can’t exchange media files or texts over Google Duo.

Like almost all other video calling platforms, Google Duo, too, has seen a sharp rise in group calls over the last month. The firm acknowledges its users’ need to expand their group sessions and has promised to increase the limit in the near future.

  • Cost: Free
  • Group video call limit: 12 (to be increased soon)
  • Time limit: None
  • Download: Google Duo

Related: How to make a group video call on Google Duo

Google Hangouts

From being a part of the Google+ ecosystem to emerging as a fully-featured, standalone video calling application in 2013, Google Hangouts has surely come a long way over the years. It may not be as popular as some of its contemporaries, but is still an outright favorite for many working professionals. Google Hangouts is free to use, can host up to 25 participants, and doesn’t impose a time limit on the said video calls.

If your organization requires more than 25 people to be on a call at the same time, you could also opt for Hangouts Meet. With full GSuite integration, Meet is a paid application that can host up to 250 participants and allows you to stream to 100,000 people.

  • Cost: Free
  • Group video call limit: 25
  • Time limit: None
  • Download: Google Hangouts

Zoom

The US-based video calling platform has seen its userbase grow exponentially since the COVID-19 outbreak and for good reason. Zoom is more business-minded than any of the applications listed above, offering features that give your productivity a substantial boost. From screen sharing to meeting scheduling — there are plenty of reasons to choose Zoom meeting.

However, if you’re only looking to have a session with friends, the app may not offer the best value. While it’s free to use and can connect you to 99 people, it cuts off your conference calls — with three members or above — at the 40-minute mark. Packages start at $14.99/month.

  • Cost: Free / $14.99
  • Group video call limit: 100 (up to 1000)
  • Time limit: 40 minutes / 24 hours (paid)
  • Download: Zoom

Houseparty

Like Zoom, Houseparty, too, has seen a massive surge in numbers over the last month. The app has the most extensive collection of online games — out of the list we’ve compiled — which comes in handy when you’re trying to mix it up with friends and family. The app is free to use, doesn’t interrupt your sessions, and allows up to eight people to join a call.

  • Cost: Free
  • Group video call limit: 8
  • Time limit: None
  • Download: Houseparty

Instagram

The leading photo and video-sharing social networking, Instagram, also doubles up as a handy video calling tool. It doesn’t need an additional, dedicated application like Facebook — Facebook Messenger — which makes Insta a lighter alternative to its parent company. The app, of course, is free to use, offers a bunch of live filters during video calls, can connect you to 31 participants, share multiple photos to a story, and doesn’t place a timer above your head.

  • Cost: Free
  • Group video call limit: 32
  • Time limit: None
  • Download: Instagram

Microsoft Teams

Last but not the least, Microsoft Teams, is another video conferencing platform — like Zoom — that is tailormade for working professionals. Thanks to complete Office 365 support, Microsoft Teams user can make use of Microsoft Teams’ industry-leading products from any part of the globe.

The app itself offers a free version, which allows you to take care of your day-to-day office tasks. However, to enroll, you’ll need to have an Office 365 account, which starts at $8.25 user/month. Microsoft Teams can host up to 250 participants, while live events enable you to communicate with up to 10,000 attendees.

  • Cost: Free (with Office 365 license)
  • Group video call limit: 250
  • Time limit: None
  • Download: Microsoft Teams

So, what are your thoughts on the Waiting Room feature and which one is the best service for you and why?

If you need to ask anything in this regard, be sure to ask us in the comments box below.

Posted by
Sushan

A mediocre engineer hoping to do something extraordinary with his pen (well, keyboard). Loves Pink Floyd, lives football, and is always up for a cup of Americano.

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