Free Video Conferencing with appear.in

If you have been keeping up with my blog you will know that I am a Linux user. Being a Linux user you are, at times, left behind on really cool and exciting software. It’s just a hard fact that most companies do not consider developing software for Linux and focus more on Windows and Mac. It’s actually really annoying. However, it doesn’t hinder me from being productive and getting things done.

One of the tools out there that I have found lacking and with good support is video conferencing with screen sharing. Products like WebEx, Join.me, GoToMeeting, and Skype just don’t have great support for Linux. I’ve used Teamviewer, Hangouts and Jitsi and allĀ are pretty decent for Linux but have their flaws. Recently, I came across a really good tool called appear.in. You can visit and create your own free room by visiting here:

appear_in

And one of the coolest features of this free service is that they have a mobile app for Android and iOS for those on the go.

I’ve tested it out a little, both the desktop and mobile app for Android, with a co-worker usingĀ video conferencing and screen sharing, both worked really well, even on Linux (Fedora 24 with Google Chrome).

One of these days when I get some extra time (we have a 8 month old in the house keeping us pretty busy) I may try to schedule a video conference with a few people to see how well it holds up with a large group.

Calling From The Future

Since my childhood I’ve been a fan of Star Trek. I remember as far back as 1978 watching reruns of The Original Series with my Dad. I was always fascinated with the technology from that show, and other sci-fi TV shows and movies, of being able to talk to someone via a video call. Well, whether you use it or not, the technology is here, the future is here, and I’m loving it.

For about five years now I’ve been using Skype for PC-to-PC calls with family and friends however I remember being able to make video calls as far back as 1999 with NetMeeting on Windows 98. I still use Skype for video calls frequently and sometimes switch between that service and Google’s Video Chat via Gmail. Video chat has been available for a few years now on computers but technology has advanced so much that we now have the capability to have video calls on our mobile phone. That just blows my mind. I’m mean, come on, it’s not science fiction today it’s science fact and that is the coolest thing to me being a fan of science fiction. The iPhone 4 came out last year with a front-facing camera and the ability to make video calls via Facetime. In recent months you also have the option to purchase an Android phone (I think it’s just the Nexus S for now) with a front-facing camera to video chat via Gtalk with more Android phones coming out with the same ability in the coming months.

Currently, I do not own a phone with a front-facing camera (still hauling around the Motorola Droid 1) but I can tell you that my next purchase will be an Android phone with a front-facing camera that will have the ability to video chat. Because I encourage my friends and family to call me on Skype and Gtalk on the computer today I also would like to have that option on my mobile phone too. It’s so Star Trek, man.

So, I’m wondering: If you were to buy a phone with a front-facing camera today, or in the future, would you use the video chat function? I would love to see your vote and read your comments below.

[poll id=”1″]