Apps to Help You Stay in Touch
Ways to connect with family and friends while sheltering-in-place.
The past week has been filled with monumental changes and our former daily routines are unrecognizable. Teens are calling themselves Zoomers because of their new virtual reality, and numbering among the many difficulties we are facing, like losing track of days, is not being able to spend time with our loved ones. Fortunately, there are scores of apps beyond FaceTime and Google Hangouts to keep you connected. Here are some of our favorites.
This app has integrations with YouTube, Spotify, and many others, and allows users to drop in text, video, music, and photos within a room. Up to six people can video chat and post at once — to get the attention of group members you send out a “signal.” Not ready to fully dive in? Up to 250 people can monitor what’s happening in any given room, so give it a look and see what it’s all about.
Houseparty lets users simultaneously chat with up to eight separate friends and doesn’t make the experience chaotic or confusing. You can share your screen, record video to share within the app, but the best part is being able to play multiple games like Head’s Up, trivia, and Pictionary, making it feel like a real party.
Often referred to as the “video walkie-talkie” app, Marco Polo lets you send short video messages to your friends and family, and respond to them much in the same way you would with Snapchat. The app also features visual and voice filters, and gives you the option to draw or add text to any of your videos. This app supports video, photos and text.
The Chrome-extension boasts over half a million users and will undoubtedly garner more in the coming weeks. Want to watch your favorite show or movie with a friend but can’t? This is your savior. Netflix Party synchronizes video playback and lets you chat with your group while watching. To join a party click on the party URL, then click on the “NP” button next to the address bar, and you’re in!
This free social networking app is similar to Skype as it lets you make video calls to friends and share photos and other content via text chat. Beyond that, it allows friends to share what’s on their phone screen through screen sharing. Up to six people can be in at once, sharing memes and getting opinions, and it’s really easy to use.
Love singing karaoke? This is your app. This game includes thousands of karaoke classics that players can sing either alone or in a duet with another person. In addition, streamers can choose to sing as themselves in a live camera feed, or use an avatar. It’s also interactive. Viewers can request songs, cheer, or send in “singing challenges” to the streamer during the performance.
Kasia Pawlowska loves words. A native of Poland, Kasia moved to the States when she was seven. The San Francisco State University creative writing graduate went on to write for publications like the San Francisco Bay Guardian and KQED Arts among others prior to joining the Marin Magazine staff. Topics Kasia has covered include travel, trends, mushroom hunting, an award-winning series on social media addiction, and loads of other random things. When she’s not busy blogging or researching and writing articles, she’s either at home writing postcards and reading or going to shows. Recently, Kasia has been trying to branch out and diversify, ie: use different emojis. Her quest for the perfect chip is a never-ending endeavor.