We recently shared some apps that can help people make stay at home productive. Seeing as camaraderie is a big factor in being productive, here is an app that has been making waves and seems like it was designed with the COVID-19 lockdown in mind.
The app is called Houseparty, and does exactly what its name depicts; helps people party together even while apart. Since people are advised to desist from physical gatherings at this time, staying connected virtually is the next best thing.
With Houseparty, it is just as easy to drop in on a friend virtually, as it is physically.
I downloaded the app for review and went on a spin in it with friends. The features of the app, as well as a guide to setting it up, will be revealed in the unfolding paragraphs.
To start with, you can download the app here, and set it up with your details. After that is done, it loads your contacts from your phonebook as well as from Facebook to help you find friends who are on Houseparty.
I sent Add requests to some of my friends who were already using the app, and when anyone accepted my request I was able to connect with them. The conversation is video-based, and once accepted, friends can pop in and out of a video chat with you as long as you are online and have added them.
Once you are signed in and connected with friends, the rest is an exciting journey that involves doing a lot of cool stuff with friends.
Besides the basic feature of video chats, Houseparty provides users with common games they can take part in. Charades, Trivia, Heads Up, and drawing quizzes are some of what people in a Houseparty chat can do together.
The app requires that a few permissions be given before users can access some features. Houseparty requires permission to access location, as well as the camera and microphone for it to function properly.
A party ‘room’ can be locked to prevent just anyone on your friend’s list or your friend’s friend from intruding into your private party. This lock feature can be activated by clicking on the padlock icon on the lower end of the screen during a Houseparty chat.
The permissions required by the app might be cause for a bit of concern, however, considering that the app is a video chat app, it only follows that these permissions are necessary.
Further research turned out that Forbes had had this same concern. Forbes had cybersecurity and privacy researcher Lukas Stefanko peruse the android version of the Houseparty app, and reported that there was nothing of concern.
“I analyzed the app’s permissions usage and since the app provides video chats with your friends it is logical that requested permissions are necessary. I haven’t found any shady misusing of them by the app. The app doesn’t provide a lot of in-app options and settings, which creates less scenarios for exploiting security issues.”Lukas Stefanko, a researcher with cybersecurity firm ESET
Based on the rules found in a section of Houseparty’s settings, a party can take a maximum of 8 people at a time.
Houseparty was founded by Sima Sistani, Itai Danino, and Ben Rubin in 2011.
In describing Houseparty, Sistani told Forbes that “People are sitting back and relaxing with their friends, both literally and figuratively. There’s no calling or making demands on other people’s time; you just open the app when you want to hang, and your friends who are available will join you.”
Houseparty makes it easier to share activities and get more involved in the lives of other people within a friendship circle.
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