We live in unprecedented times that have been shown in vision to prophets of the past for countless millennia. As exciting as it is seeing prophecy unfold before our very eyes, there are still many challenges that come for our loved ones, not the least of which is the threat of an extremely pervasive disease.
As we attempt to stay connected but physically distant with loved ones near and far, we have found some technology easier than others to deal with. Which app, which website or software is best to stay in touch with your family? You may have already found one that works for you. That’s the short answer. It’s great if you and your family have worked out an way you can all chat, text or video conference together.
If you haven’t found anything, yet, please read on:
Our family website is hosted by Zion Foundation who has been given grants by both Microsoft (Azure) for hosting and Google (G Suite for Nonprofits) for productivity tools. As such, our family has access to normally paid-for services such as:
- Azure hosting ($3500/year)
- G Suite tools (30GB storage for unlimited users @malanfamily.com and @malan.family)
- Google Meet (up to 250 simultaneous video conference participants)
The best part about Google Meet is how easy it is to set up and join. For those with loved ones who experience extremely aversion to technology, everyone can join a web call and you can call them on their phone and join them in on the conversation. This is free of charge for the public through the month of August 2020 and may continue beyond that. Beyond that, we are allowed unlimited accounts with G Suite and would be happy to help anyone in our family organize these large video meetings. Not everyone has to have an account to take advantage of the meeting; they just need a Google Account.
What makes Google Meet so great is that it works on just about every device: Windows, Mac and Linux computers, Chromebooks and even Raspberry Pis all have access to https://meet.google.com. iPhones and Androids both have their own apps in their respective app stores. Whether using a browser or an app, participants are able to use their devices’ built-in camera, microphone and speaker quite easily. Inviting people can be by phone, email or link (such as through Facebook Messenger or text message).
We’ve even been kicking around the idea of a virtual family reunion for our own family. Given that so many people can participate simultaneously, we could theoretically do it for the whole family with up to 250 people sharing their video and audio, a great way to connect households while everyone is doing their best to stay at home and keep the vulnerable among us safe.
If you’re interested in getting a G Suite account with our sponsor organization, Zion Foundation, please let me know in the form below: