5 free and easy ways to connect with family this new year using your PC

Skype Facebook Google Messenger

If you have family or friends who are miles away, there are no excuses to keep from getting in touch with them. Nowadays we have many solutions that can help to shorten distance with our loved ones, they are free and they do an amazing job.

In this article I would like to share 5 different ways in which you can connect with your loved ones easy and for free, using voice and video in this new year.

Sure, you got your phone and you can make a call at any time, but there are many situations where people have family members or close friends very far away and just picking up the phone and dial the number may not be a suitable choice.

Alight, let’s get started:

Step#1 Skype

This almost doesn’t need an introduction, Skype is the most widely known service use in the world to make free internet calls. Using this service, you’ll get:

  • Free video calling anywhere in the world to another user that also uses Skype
  • Free voice calling anywhere in the world to another user that also uses Skype
  • Call to a regular phone to a very low-cost
  • Free group video calling
  • Video call your friends on Facebook as well

Check out all the features and download the software.

Note: Client software installation and free account with Skype required.

Step#2 Facebook Video Calling

Facebook Video Calling is a fairly new service from the largest social network in the world. Thanks to a partnership with Skype, now you can make free video calls to any Facebook or Skype friend (starting in Skype beta version 5.4) using your web browser.

Here is how to set up Facebook Video Calling, if you need the extra help.

Step#3 Google+ Hangouts

Same as Facebook Video Calling, the search giant has Hangouts in its social network, Google+, to video chat with your friends or even people you don’t know… The difference between Facebook Video Calling and Google+ Hangouts is that with this service you can video chat with up to 10 people. Google is also offering free voice calls to any phone for free using Hangouts to all the US and Canada.

To get started with Google+ Hangouts visit this page http://www.google.com/tools/dlpage/res/talkvideo/hangouts/

Note: Google+ account and plugin installation required.

Step#4 Google Talk

Google Talk is another service that it can be convenient to use if both parties have Gmail email addresses. This service offers the ability to chat and video call other Gmail users for free, using the Google Talk application or right from your Gmail inbox with the use of a plugin.

Note: Gmail account and client software installation required. Alternatively you can install the Google Talk plugin, instead of the client software and you can use the service through your inbox in the web browser.

Step#5 Windows Live – Messenger

Windows Live – Messenger is the Microsoft solution that allows you to easily video chat with family and friends, when they are miles away, for free. With Messenger Video Call you can:

  • Make HD video calls to any family or friends when both are using the software
  • Leave a video message
  • Start a free voice calling
  • Chat with your Facebook friends

Get started with Messenger, learn how to make a video call, and learn how to chat with Facebook friends.

Note: Windows Live ID and client software installation required.

Bottom line is that you don’t have to see which one is best, all of these solutions mentioned today are good for video and voice chatting. What you need to see is which one is more convenient for you to use. For example, choose the software with the service to which you are going to cover more friends. If your intentions are to contact your parents or grandparents, it would be a good idea that you go for the solution that they know and use, that way you are the one that have to deal more with settings and configurations to make it a bit easier for them.

Remember that all you need is: a PC, webcam, microphone and an Internet connection (high-speed preferable), that today is pretty standard on most laptops. This may be a little bit obvious but just in case it’s not, if the other person that you want to talk to doesn’t have a webcam, you can still use these free Internet-based call solutions for voice calling.

Do you use other free video and/or voice calling solutions? Share them with us in the comments below. Thanks.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows expert and the Editor-in-Chief who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He is also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 12 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows, software, and related technologies, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me.