Working From Home Because of Coronavirus? These Apps Will Help You

Google, Microsoft and others are offering their collaborative software and apps for free for up to six months.

Published
Tech News
3 min read
Working from home is becoming the go-to option for many companies right now.
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Working from home isn’t a popular mode of employment in India, with most professionals expected to report to the office, and make sure they clock their full shift.

However, with the ongoing concerns of a coronavirus outbreak and how it spreads because of human contact, companies are rethinking their position on people working through virtual media.

Which is why, if you’re one of those who has been asked to enter the uncharted territory of working remotely, these suites of apps will make things seamless, making sure your productivity doesn’t suffer. Here’s a list of such apps that are available for platforms across PC, mobile and tablet.

Google Hangouts Meet

Google’s enterprise solution includes G Suite which bundles products like Docs, Drive, Gmail and Calendar among others. Hangouts Meet is the video-conferencing platform, allowing multiple people to interact from different locations. During a scenario like this, Google’s products come to the rescue.

Going by the need of hour, Google is making Hangouts Meet available to all its existing G Suite customers for free. This update was also shared by Sundar Pichai, CEO, Alphabet.

Starting this week, we will begin rolling out free access to our advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally including: Larger meetings, for up to 250 participants per call, live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain and the ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive.
Google Cloud blog post

Hangouts Meet works on Android, iOS, Windows as well as Mac OS.

Microsoft Teams

Teams is Microsoft’s group chat and collaboration platform, allowing people to work virtually. This works similarly to other products like Slack, but with Microsoft. It lets users connect via their Outlook or existing Microsoft account.

And just like Google, Microsoft is offering Teams to everybody for free, for up to six months. This was mentioned by Jean-Philippe Courtois, Executive Vice President and President for Microsoft Global Sales via this tweet.

The free plan offers access to unlimited chats and search options. You can make free video or audio group calls. Users get 10GB of team file storage and 2GB of storage per person. It offers real-time collaboration using Office tools like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint among others.

Slack

Slack is one of the popular collaborative platforms that allows users to send direct messages as well as files to an individual or a group.

On this, you can have a separate place to have conversations called channels, which can be configured according to the project you're working on.

Like Teams and Hangouts Meet, Slack also supports voice and video calls. You can get these through its free version of the app. However, the support is limited to one-to-one voice and video calls and lets you access only the last 10,000 of the recent messages sent within your team.

Slack works on Android, iOS, Windows as well as Mac OS.

Zoom

Zoom is another popular platform which can be used for making group video calls.

You can install it like an app or add it like an extension to a compatible product. With the free version of Zoom, you can make video calls with three or more people, but the duration is limited to 40 minutes. Users can also record video calls for use later.

Zoom is compatible with Android, iOS, Windows as well as Mac OS.

Cisco Webex

Cisco is mostly recognised for its proactive role in helping organisations work and set up their offices. And now the company is using its Webex tool to ensure employees can stay focused on their work, even as they work from remote locations.

“Effective immediately, we’ve expanded the capabilities on our free Webex offer in all countries where it is available, not only those impacted by COVID-19.”
Cisco support blog post

Webex is Cisco’s team collaboration tool, and during this free offer, the company is offering the following benefits to people in a host of countries, including India.

  1. Unlimited usage (no time restrictions)
  2. Supports up to 100 participants
  3. Offers toll dial-in (in addition to existing VoIP capabilities).

For those who aren’t part of the Webex ecosystem, Cisco is providing them with a 90-day free trial license, giving them a chance to use the platform before looking to invest into one.

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