One component which you could see, in all these faraway experiments, is that audio beats video.

Zoom-staring into a webcam is wearying.

So almost all these apps actively downplay full-reveal video, and users appear to like that.

Prague, a further digital-assembly startup, offers clients a choice to connect with audio or video, and its co-founder, Doug Safreno, estimates that people use the audio-only components twice as regularly as video.

Believe this the revenge of the old-school mobile phone call: seems we simply are looking to speak.

And, extra subtly, to listen.

A lot of these apps permit for just a little of the ambient eavesdropping that occurs in a workplace, where you could seem to be across the room and see that two colleagues are speakme—might be even getting a sense of what they’re discussing—without entirely tuning in.

This semiprivate, semipublic nature of office chat helps provide a group a proprioceptive sense of itself, one which’s too often missing in our remote world of one-on-one calls.