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With the increasing use of video conferencing for businesses as well as people in their homes, the offerings are becoming overwhelming. How to compare video conferencing choices? Let’s see what some of the differences look like.

Some of the most popular choices today are:

GoToMeeting is the only product that does not have a free version. The others offer various free meetings based on number of attendees and time limits. Since the offerings change over time, we will not list the exact details here.

Meet by Google, Discord and Teams by Microsoft can only be used between people who have accounts, although free accounts are available in all three. Zoom, Skype and WebEx need an account to create a meeting, but not to attend a meeting. All of these choices, except Discord, also allow meetings to be scheduled for the future. They all have chat functions within the program, and allow document and screen sharing. Discord is the most extensible of the choices, and you can create separate rooms for different kinds of chats and personalize the experience. This post will give a small taste of what they feel like to use.These are differences to think about when you compare video conferencing choices.

So what does it look like to set up a meeting? We will show you the steps to create an instant meeting in four of the choices – Meet, Zoom, WebEx and Discord.

Meet

When logged into a Google account, click on the 9 dots in the upper right corner and choose Meet.

Then click on Join or start a meeting.

We are creating a new meeting, so we will give it the nickname Practice. Then click Continue.

You are now in a meeting. Click on Join Now and can invite other people to join you.

Copy this information and share it with the people you want to join you in the meeting.

Zoom

From the Zoom app we will click on New Meeting

Which puts you in a meeting and asks which audio to use

Now you are in a meeting with all of the controls across the bottom. This is where you add participants, change audio or mute etc.

WebEx

From the WebEx app, click on Start a Meeting.

Click on Start Meeting.

From here you can add participants, control your audio and video etc.

Discord

Discord arose in the gaming world, and has been used by millions of people. The terminology is a little unfamiliar to some people. A group that you create is called a Server. You invite people to join your server. The creation of a server is free. Within a server, you can create rooms of two types – text channels and voice channels. These rooms are places that the server members will meet to discuss particular topics. For example you might have a text channel for administrative discussions and another for client questions. The Voice channels also includes video and screen sharing. A Discord server is very customizable in terms of the labels that you use, and how you structure your rooms. Watch for another blog post about setting up a Discord Server.

For the purposes of this post, to host a meeting with Discord, you will invite people to a room in your server. When you open Discord to your server, you see this. SSG on the left is the server we are currently displaying.

You can create an instant invite link to any of these channels by clicking the icon next to the channel name that is a plus sign above a small head and torso stick figure. Alternately, you can click on the words Invite People.

This provides you with a link to send to people you want to meet with. It can be sent in an email or message. When they join, you will see them like this and they can then turn on their own video. We have invited Thatcher to the Lounge room in the Video Channels. We have our video on, and he has joined the room with only his audio turned on.

Discord also allows more permissions than just the waiting room feature which others offer, and the administrator of the server has a lot of freedom in terms of labeling and grouping people that is not found in other choices.

So as you can see, video conferencing functionality from these four companies is quite similar, as are the others we have not demoed. To compare video conferencing choices will be more about your very specific needs and those of the people you are conferencing with. Since most of these choices are free, it is easy to join many of them so that you can meet with people wherever they are most comfortable.

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