Ever since I discovered Spike's email program (it's called "Hop"), it has been a fan of it.Hop: How instant messaging should be done decades ago"Basically, their Spike product turns regular email into a full-featured instant messaging platform with similar features to Whatsapp, Slack, etc., without forcing everyone who communicates with you to use these apps." Program. This is a free and friendly way to upgrade email and Internet communications.

Regardless, Spike now has another product called Spike Video Chat, which is designed to be a simple, secure web-based application for group video calls. This is when COVID-19 coronavirus causes many people around the world to stay at home instead of interacting and socializing with others in real life to slow the spread of the deadly virus. While the Zoom.us video conferencing service has become very popular, it also exposes itself as a nightmare for security and privacy. Hackers can easily steal video records, email addresses, etc.

Spike Video Chat is actually based on the excellent open source video conferencing server we have written several times before (see:How to hold a safe video call party in isolation") Called Meet Gessie. Anyone can deploy the Jitsi Meet server by or integrate it into more advanced products as needed. Spike has modified it very well to make it easier to use.

How to use Spike video chat

Spike video chat is easier to use than Zoom, Google Hangouts, WebEx, etc. It is as easy to use as Jitsi Meet, which is a good thing.

Step 1, go to https://video.spike.chat

Enter the name, meeting subject, and then click "Create New Meeting".

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In step 2, you will allow the website to access your camera and microphone, and the web app will confirm that both are working properly. Just click "Join Video Chat Conference".

That's right, apart from my initials, there is no registration, no login, no personal information collected (although like all websites, I'm sure your IP address can be recorded). If you do not enter any information, hackers will not be able to steal your personal information.

Step 3 is to add people to the video conference. The "+" button inside the circle does just that. Pressing this key will copy the URL link to the meeting so that you can paste it into any messaging application you want to use. The "Email Invitation" button will use your default email program to put the link in the email for you.

After the participant clicks the link, they will get the same "Join Video Chat Conference" interface, which requests the website's permission to use your camera and microphone. Then they will join the video chat directly in the web browser.

There are buttons to mute the audio, mute the video or share the screen, and the "X" button will make you exit the video chat.

Safety

Zoom is known for its popularity and strong security. Jitsi Meet does not require or collect any personal information, so it has always been better in terms of security, and Spike Video Chat can also do this.

Spike Video Chat also adds SRTP encryption for video streaming. If you just have a video chat with others, the system will create a direct peer-to-peer encrypted connection. This means that all data will not be transmitted through Spike's servers. After adding more people, it will be impossible to establish a direct encrypted connection between multiple users, so Spike's video bridge server must be used. Therefore, because your phone is talking through a third party, the security is slightly worse, but this is the case in all cases (including ordinary old phones).

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Spike video chat restrictions

I know what you are thinking … what's the gain?

Like a free Zoom.us account, can the call only last for 40 minutes? Is it limited to 8 people like Houseparty? Will it track all my data and send it to Facebook like a Zoom? Will it send information to Google?

No, Spike video chat has no restrictions or pitfalls. I found that there is no connection to Google or Facebook in the code, and (just like Jitsi Meet) there is no hard-coded limit on the number of people who can join or the call time.

What about software downloads? Do I have to install a program that bypasses administrator protection on my Mac, and hackers can use it like Zoom.us to remotely control my computer? Do I have to download the app from the Apple App Store on iOS or the Google Play Android store?

Do not! This is another good thing about Spike video chat, it is one of the improvements to Jitsi Meet. With Jitsi Meet, everything can be done in a desktop browser without downloading software, but on the mobile app, it will prompt you to download the Jitsi Meet mobile app. Spike Video Chat has deleted this request! Therefore, Spike Video Chat can immediately run in the iOS Safari browser and Google Android Chrome browser without downloading any software using the WebRTC standard. Compared with video chat applications, this is a very welcome improvement!

There must be some restrictions!

Okay, yes. The Spike video chat feature does not have all the features provided in Zoom.us, Houseparty or Jitsi Meet. This is a more simplified video chat service. Simplicity makes things easy, but there are many things you cannot do.

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For example, you cannot assign a moderator and mute everyone else. You cannot kick people out of chat. You cannot chat with text-based messages or direct messages. There is no indicator of the connection speed of the participants. No fake background pictures or blurry background filters. There is no traditional call-in option. There is no "start muted" option. Screen sharing does not work on mobile devices. There is no view layout option. There is no option to stream to YouTube. There is no video recording option (This is good, because if you do n’t record video, hackers wo n’t be able to steal it like you would use Zoom.us.)

Therefore, if you are a school teacher or a business and want to be able to manage many participants in a video conference, Spike Video Chat does not have the functionality to provide a good experience. However, if you avoid the virus at home and want to see a bunch of friends drinking together, chatting or playing a few cards, playingcards.io, Then Spike video chat is a very good choice.