Before 2020 most people had probably never heard of Zoom or Houseparty. Unfortunately, the global pandemic changed all that. Suddenly video chatting apps were the rage like never before. Two of the biggest beneficiaries of this newfound love of video chat apps were Zoom and Houseparty.
While both offer the ability to allow groups of people to video chat no matter where they are in the world, each app has its benefits depending on the situation you find yourself needing to video chat in. So let’s take a look at both Zoom and Houseparty to find out which app is best for your situation.
Zoom VS Houseparty: Killer Features
- Zoom: The thing that really sets Zoom apart is the audience the app is made for. It is primarily designed for those in the business world. In this way, Zoom is much more a Skype competitor than a Houseparty competitor. Zoom’s numerous business-oriented features bear this out. Among the app’s top offerings are virtual backgrounds, screen sharing, waiting rooms, local recording, and integrated text chat. It also supports up to a whopping 100 video participants at a time.
- Houseparty: On the other hand, Houseparty is designed for, as the name might suggest, a more “fun” type of video conferencing. Put it this way: no potential business contact is ever going to ask you to set up a call over Houseparty. Instead, the platform is really designed for friends that want to hang out online. This is especially true of gamers, as Houseparty has integrated gaming support built into video chats. Another sign that Houseparty is definitely for small groups of friends the app limits video participants to a total of eight per call.
Zoom VS Houseparty: Supported Platforms
- Zoom: Given Zoom is built for the business world, the app is built to run on a massive number of platforms including Mac, PC, iOS, Android, the web. And there are even browser-specific plugins for Chrome and Firefox. That’s not even to mention the plugin for the Microsoft Outlook email app.
- Houseparty: As for Houseparty, the app supports a smaller array of platforms. There’s the dedicated Android, iOS, Mac, and PC app. There is also a Google Chrome extension. However, Houseparty lacks the other plugins that Zoom offers.
Zoom VS Houseparty: Privacy & Security
- Zoom: In early 2020, Zoom got knocked a lot in the press for its apparent lack of privacy and security. However, through 2020 the company started to compensate for past flaws. In October Zoom rolled out end-to-end encryption (E2EE) support in some chats, which the host can enable. However, by default, not all Zoom chats are E2EE at this time. Hopefully, that will change during 2021.
- Houseparty: As for Houseparty, it doesn’t offer any end-to-end encryption. The lack of E2EE on any communications platform in 2021 is a disappointment. However, Houseparty doesn’t offer any kind of public search directory that would allow bad actors to easily find a particular video chat they are not invited to–so it’s unlikely it’s very easy for someone to find a specific chat to hack into. However, keep in mind that with the lack of E2EE, someone could theoretically peak into your video chat.
Zoom VS Houseparty: Price
- Zoom: Zoom offers a free plan that allows you to host up to 100 people on a video call at once. However, these group calls are limited to a maximum of 40 minutes. For now, one-to-one calls have no time limit, however. Unsurprisingly, Zoom also offers multiple paid tiers that range from $149 per year for Zoom Meeting to $300. The higher-priced plans offer more participants and features.
- Houseparty: Houseparty is free to download and free to use. However, the app does offer in-app purchases for games and trivia. Most in-app purchases, which are optional, cost between $1 to $3.
Zoom VS Houseparty: Which Is Best?
For most people, Zoom is going to be the best option. That’s because the app is available across a huge number of platforms and offers a free tier that anyone can take advantage of. It’s also the de facto standard in business meetings now–so if you are going to use video conference software for work, Zoom will likely be the required one.
That being said, Houseparty is a great app for those who need smaller group video chats. However, it’s an app that is clearly designed for younger people–and especially for gamers. It’s unlikely grandma or grandpa–or even mom and dad–will be choosing Houseparty as their default video conferencing app, especially when other general video conferencing apps like FaceTime are already installed on their smartphones.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What's better Houseparty or Zoom?
Zoom is probably better for most people. If you are in the business world, Zoom is practically a requirement for most remote work. Houseparty, on the other hand, is great for younger people who generally just want to hang out with each other online.
Q: Is Houseparty safe than Zoom?
From an encryption standpoint, Zoom is safer than Houseparty right now. That’s because Zoom offers end-to-end encryption (E2EE) in some cases. Houseparty still does not offer E2EE as of the time of this writing.
Q: Why is Zoom so popular now?
Because the world is in the midst of a global pandemic that has killed over 2 million people so far. Lockdowns are in place across the globe leaving people with little choice but to use video chatting apps like Zoom to see their loved ones and get remote work done.
Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.