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Free Video Conference Software

The average Internet user emails, shops and communicates with friends and family via instant messaging. And it is not far off that video conferencing will be part of that list as well. That is because it is now possible to conduct video conferences on one’s desktop computer at no cost for the service.

All you need is a computer enabled to connect to the Internet, a high bandwidth Internet access, a web cam, microphone and speakers. But these are merely the hardware components. In order for video conferences to work on your computer you will need video conference software.

Now before you start thinking that you will have to shell out money for this, think again. There are a lot of software out there that allows you to conduct your own video conference for free.

In fact, most of these software could already be installed in your computer system. That means, after you read this article, you are most likely capable of having a video conference with someone across the street or around the world. The possibilities are endless!

So what do these free video conference software offer and what is the catch (if there is one, at all)? For most of these free software, there is no catch. Very often, all you need is to register as a subscriber to their service (again for free) and you are ready to go. Sometimes, you may already be a subscriber and not know it.

This is particularly true for free video conference software like Yahoo! Messenger. If you have a free Yahoo! account, then you are already capable of video conferencing. All you need to do is download the program and install it in your system. Once that is done, you can start video conferencing with other Yahoo! subscribers at no cost.

You can keep track of your friends through a buddy list that can also display a range of information from your calendar, address book and even weather updates. While the service is for free, you do NOT have to put up with pesky banner or pop up ads.

You can initiate a videoconference from your buddy list or even in the middle of a text chat session. Security measures are implemented when initiating a video connection. People can only view your webcam if you allow them to or you can send an invitation for them to access your video stream. A peer-to-peer connection is established with Super Webcam allowing for higher quality video.

Messenger, though, is best suited for personal use only. Commercial application may be limited because of corporate firewall limitations. The only recourse is to convert to standard mode, which is of below-par video quality.

If you are looking for something that can cater to small business applications without having to spend on software licenses, then consider Microsoft’s NetMeeting. It is, by far, the leading free conferencing software in the market that also allows satisfactory video conference quality. On thing to note though is Windows XP is the last version of Microsoft Windows to include NetMeeting. Users planning on using Windows vista will need to upgrade to an alternative software provided by Microsoft.

NetMeeting can be downloaded for free from Microsoft’s official website and the features it carries are actually quite impressive.

Besides video conferencing, you can exchange and share files from multiple participants, something other free software cannot support. A virtual whiteboard to help discussions along is provided as well as the option for desktop and application sharing. Contacting participants is similar to other messaging software so text chats are also available in addition to video and audio conferences. All in all, it is an excellent collaborative conferencing software at no cost to you.

What you must keep in mind with free video conference software like these is that the parties you wish to reach must also have the same program installed on their computers. If you will be conduction video conferences on a regular basis, consider investing on high-bandwidth Internet access so that you will avoid the frustrating skipping and choppy audio and video that is symptomatic of low-speed access.

In the final run, despite these limitations, these examples of free video conference software have helped make the activity more of a household word. It brings people closer together and bridges distances – and if it can be done for free, then all the better.


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