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Houseparty Is the New Way to Have Fun While Social Distancing

Houseparty is making online interaction more fun for users, especially during times of social distancing.

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Houseparty in 2020 is what BBM was in the late 2000's. Houseparty is the newest app that seems to have garnered instant popularity to have racked up millions of downloads in a really short span of time.

With millions of people sitting in their homes, yearning for some form of social interaction, Houseparty seems to have hit the nail on the head with its casual approach to video calling.

In case you've been on a social media detox for the past couple of weeks, chances are you have received a message from a friend saying "Download Houseparty". The video chatting app has become an absolute sensation amongst people who want a more "party-like" atmosphere in a group video call.

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Houseparty is different from Zoom or Teams or any of the other group video calling apps out there. Unlike a Zoom call where you have to send out a meeting link or invite people to join, Houseparty lets users enter "rooms" without an invite or a call.

It aims to take the entire "house party" online, meaning you can see your friends in different rooms, see who is talking to whom, play games with each other, slide into your friends' rooms, and so much more.

The app, which is owned by Fortnite developer Epic Games, now ranks at the top spot in various countries' app stores. A very big contributor to its popularity seems to be the spontaneity that the app offers.

As mentioned, there are no invites or calls to friends for starting the party. Instead, the app sends notifications to all your friends whenever you open it on your phone. Your friends are pinged with a notification that says that you are in the house.

Houseparty is making online interaction more fun for users, especially during times of social distancing.
Houseparty send a notification whenever your friends open the app.
(Photo: The Quint)

When you get this notification, you can open the app and “sneak into the house”, send them a note or just snooze the notification. You can also see if your friends are already in a room and see who all are there and join them as well with just one tap.

You can also join a room with your friend's friends, where you only know one or two persons and not the rest.

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Yes, it sounds a bit scary when you think that anyone can join your call. To counter the situation, the app also has the option to "lock" the room. This means that nobody can join the room without taking permission.

Another reason why Houseparty has gained such a massive user base is that it lets users participate in quirky little games while they're on the video call, inside the app. You can play games like Heads Up, Quick Draw, Trivia and Chips and Guac with up to eight people in the same room.

How to Set up Your Account

Setting up your account is not a difficult task.

  1. Once you’ve downloaded the app on your phone, you’ll be asked to enter your name and email address.
  2. Pick a unique username and type in a password for your account. The app will also ask you to enter your birthdate.
  3. You will also be required to give your phone number as the app will send a one-time password (OTP) for verification.
  4. Once you’re signed in, the app will ask you to either access your device contacts or connect with Facebook or Snapchat to create your circle.

Once your contacts are loaded, you’re all set to start partying with your friends.

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Is Houseparty Safe to Use?

Questions are always raised when new apps start coming on the scene. Forbes recently did a story talking about the safety issues in Houseparty where they had cybersecurity and privacy researcher Lukas Stefanko take a look at the Android version of the app.

"I haven’t found any shady misusing of them (permissions asked) by the app," said Stefano.

The lack of in-app options and settings also reduces the scenarios for exploiting security issues, said Stefano.

The app does collect some personal data for targeted advertising and data about your contacts to build your connections, but the company promises it "will never share your phone number or the phone numbers of third parties in your contacts with anyone else."

You can obviously take a few precautions yourself. Forbes reports that you can email hello@houseparty.com if you want to withdraw consent for Houseparty to use any of your personal data.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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