Getting far-flung friends together is challenging. But with the free Houseparty group video chat app, it’s easy to gather your friends together to catch up.  The app is availabel for  iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch (running iOS 9.0 or later) and for  Android devices (Android 4.4 and up).  Up to eight people to have a spontaneous shindig even with other rooms open at the same time so different people can “float” around. Users can also “lock” rooms for privacy.

house-party-1

To get this party started, your friends just need to have the app installed on their devices and set up a free account. Users must also add their phone numbers to their account for verification.

After the initial set-up steps, this app works right away and is very easy-to-use. Just swipe down from the top to view all users in the room and their status. Once users connect with someone, the screen splits as needed with handy touch options familiar to most users (“x” to close; three vertical dots for more options, etc.).

The notifications are great, especially for long distance friends keeping in touch. These virtual parties can spring up spontaneously though users can also schedule their party. This app allows for more informal interactions than other video chat applications with more people.

house-party-2

You can also expand your social circle by meeting new people through your existing trusted friends. It can also start up a new friendship in a safe way since the app gives a friendly, but helpful “stranger danger” notification when someone outside the friend circle joins (a friend of a friend).

house-party-3

Having a stand for your device is helpful so you can keep relaxing on the couch or with a drink in your hand. When a connection is bad, users get their video switched off, but don’t totally get the connectivity-challenged boot – they can still hear the audio.

From my own experience, I can say this app lives up to the name. It provided great high-quality connections with friends and  no technical hiccups that would bring the festivities to a crawl or slight that special someone. The “Friends List” can sync with the device’s address book. Users also have text options to accompany the live video experiences.

Developers of this solid app previously made the live video streaming app Meerkat, so they’re in familiar territory. Houseparty has become very popular with young, teenage users. So, if you’re a parent, you might want to check it out, not only to connect with your friends, but to keep familiar with the tech your kids are using.

~ Michael Siebenaler