Connecting: Video, Voice, and Text ChatiC

by Jessica Lu on June 11, 2009

There are now many different options for “meeting” with people remotely. This includes discussions over text , voice, video, or even screen sharing. I typically use iChat and have been very impressed with the screen sharing features in particular. However, there are other options for connecting that may work better behind finicky firewalls, connecting with people using PCs, or connecting to international collaborators. Below I have listed just three options. If you have had experience with multiple chat applications, post your experience in the comments.

iChat:

  • full featured, 
  • text (single and multi-users), voice, video (multi-user but limited to 3?)
  • file-transfer and screen sharing,
  • downside is best used between Macs.

Skype

  • very similar to iChat, but works on multiple platforms
  • I don’t think it can do screen sharing just yet (perhaps beta?)
  • not sure about file transfer either

TokBox

  • free and runs in browser (flash-based), no installation required.
  • easy to video chat with multiple people at once.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 John June 12, 2009 at 1:38 am

EVO suffers from a rather clunky Java based UI, but is otherwise pretty good.

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2 Thiago S. Gonçalves June 12, 2009 at 6:50 am

Hi Jessica

Skype actually works very well, and includes file transfers too. I read that the beta version now does include screen sharing (finally!), but I haven’t tried that myself. The main problem is that, since it is multi-platform, of course they invest much more on the Windows version updates, and we Mac users are left behind most of the time. 🙁

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3 Tanya June 12, 2009 at 3:50 pm

I use Team Viewer + Skype a lot. Extremely quick, excellent for large groups, plus you have the option of actually using the other person’s computer.

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4 Marcos June 29, 2009 at 4:54 am

Adium is an excellent mulit-chat-protocol text chat client. It can log into AIM, google talk, and maybe 10 others. It doesn’t do voice or video chat, but it’s excellent for text.

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