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How to setup a free video conference instantly within a web browser

There is a wide range of video calling apps and services available on the internet, and a majority of their core functionalities remain more or less the same. For example, Microsoft-owned Skype initially came into existence as a standalone desktop app for video calling. But later on, it went to have a mobile app and subsequently, a web app. Since then, the advent of popular instant messaging apps like WhatsApp and Hike messenger eventually led to mass-adoption of video calling as a common, must-have feature across different platforms.

Although back then video calling via web browser was not as common as it is today, Skype witnessed competitors rising up against itself in the form of Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts, both of which made video calling possible directly within web browsers, thus eliminating the need for downloading any additional software on a computer.

While there are too many video calling options now, one cannot say the same about video conferencing, especially in a non-enterprise setup. In simple terms, what if you wanted to have a quick video conference with your friends? Recently, a website called Appear.in caught my eye that allows users to setup instant video conference within a web browser without even signing up or downloading any app. So in case you were looking for something just like that, you should read on:

Step 1: Go to appear.in and create a chatroom by entering any random string in the box you will find on the homepage. In my case, I used appear.in/techook. Since ‘/techook’ chat room was not already claimed on the website, it remained open throughout my usage.

Step 2: Allow the website to access your device’s camera and microphone. Share the URL of your chatroom with your friends or colleagues over email or any instant messenger. Once your friends load the URL in their web browser and let their device access microphone and camera, all of you can see each other.

Step 3: You can also share your screen with people connected over the video conference. But for that to happen, the website will prompt you to first download a browser plugin.

I made a few video calls to people in my contact and they were fairly successful. However, at one point, the call did not go through for a person I shared the URL with. All he could see was a throbber trying to load the website for a couple of minutes. Some other friend was able to see me and listen to what I was saying, but due to poor connectivity, the call did not last long enough. I have observed that the service works well with Wi-Fi connectivity, though.

But in case you are wondering about a way to prevent someone from accessing your chat room, all you can do is sign-up for the service and claim your chatroom. Once you have claimed the chatroom, you as an owner can have full control over who all can enter your chatroom and be part of your video calls. The free service allows up to 4 people to connect over a video call. But if you subscribe to its paid version, the limit gets extended to 12.

From what I have observed, Appear.in seems like a useful, one-click video calling service to connect with your friends and colleagues without taking much time to register or download any additional software.