Have You Been Zoom Bombed? Here are 6 free apps to stay connected during COVID-19

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As half of the world is lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of people to work from home. Zoom app suddenly became the video meeting service of choice in the word. Its use rises from 10 million in December to 200 million in March according to cnet.com

With that popularity came Zoom's privacy risks extending rapidly to massive numbers of people. From built-in attention-tracking features to recent upticks in "Zoombombing" (in which uninvited attendees break into and disrupt meetings with hate-filled or pornographic content), Zoom's security practices have been drawing more attention along with at least three lawsuits against the company. 

After NASA and Elon Musk’s space exploration company SpaceX, it’s now Google’s turn to ban its employees from using the Zoom app. As reported by BuzzFeed, Google sent an email last week to all its employees about banning the app. Google told its employees that whoever had Zoom installed on their machines, the software will soon not function. Google emailed employees last week about the ban, telling workers who had the Zoom app installed on their Google-provided machines that the software would soon no longer function. Interestingly, Google does have its own Zoom competitor, Meet, which is a part of the G-Suite apps.

  • Taiwan has banned Zoom for use by all government agencies.
  • NASA has banned all employees from using Zoom.
  • The German Foreign Ministry has restricted Zoom use to personal computers in emergency situations only, as reported by Reuters.
  • The United States Senate has urged its members to choose platforms other than Zoom due to security concerns, but has not issued an outright ban.
  • The Australian Defense Force banned its members from using Zoom after an Australian comedian Zoom bombed one of its meetings.

Here is the list of free app that you can use for meetings, and other activities

  1. Google Duo/Hangouts: You can use  Google Duo app on your Android phone. You can connect 8 people in same time with this app.
  2. WhatsApp: The Facebook-owned app is available on the web or your smartphone. Video calls with up to four people.
  3. Facebook Messenger: Facebook Messenger supports up to six people on screen during a video call.
  4. FaceTime: Available on MacOS, iOS, and iPadOS devices, FaceTime is Apple’s take on video conferencing, and features some pretty Apple-specific features.
  5. Microsoft Teams: New way to get video calls done can turn to Microsoft Teams, the company’s teamwork-friendly chat app.
  6. Skype: Skype messaging, as well as video and audio calling, was created for both one-on-one and group conversations, and you can use it on your mobile phone; PCs and Macs; Xboxes and Alexa. It's free to send messages, and to conduct audio and video calls with groups of up to 50 people.

 Source: cnet.com, timesofindia.indiatimes.com, techrepublic.com, howstuffworks.com, time.com

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