There are times when you're forced to be far away from your close friends or significant other, but that doesn't mean you have to break ties or just mope around missing them. Speaking with them on the phone is a pretty good way to feel closer to the ones you care about, but that gets a bit mundane after a while. Here are several applications and Chrome extensions which will make it easier for you to feel closer to your long-distance friends and dear ones. These tools offer some fun ways to connect with those you care about beyond simply chatting and sending each other images.
I'm guessing you already know how to communicate long-distance, so I won't bother you with trivial things like Skype or Facebook which everyone knows about. However, Appear.in is something not a lot of people have heard of, although it's a pretty cool tool. This Chrome extension provides you with an easy way to engage in video conferences with your friends from all over the world. What's really cool is that this works by sharing your screen, so if you've found something you want others to see, it will really help out. Another big advantage is that Appear.in works directly from your browser, so you don't need to create accounts, install additional software, etc. As many as 8 people can be included in a video conference, and each participant can simply double click a stream to see it in full-screen. Furthermore, the extension works with multiple monitors which is a big advantage.
A lot of people love to spend their free time with a good movie, but watching it alone is no fun. ShowGoers is a really cool Chrome extension that helps you feel like you're watching your favorite movies or TV shows with your buddies or special other, even if you're far away from them. This tool allows two or more people to watch content from Netflix together by synchronizing their streams. Basically all you and your friends have to do is to install the extensions, then use it to share the link to the video with the others. As soon as all of them accept the invite, the stream will begin and will be synchronizedÐ± so everyone will see the same scenes simultaneously. You can call each other and talk about what you're seeing as if you were in the same room (if you're the kind of people who like to talk during movies.) Unfortunately, ShowGoers only works with Netflix and is still in Beta, so you might run across an occasional bug, but it worked just fine when I tested it.
I know there are thousands of MMO games that you can play with your friends over the Internet, but if you're not a hardcore gamer and simply want to have a good time playing a social game instead of killing a bunch of stuff, WordsWithFriends is a great way to pass your time. This word game is somewhat similar to Scrabble, but only two people can play at the same time. What's great is that it works on PC as well as smartphones and tablets so, as long as you have a working Internet connection, you can play it no matter where you are. Moreover, you can also chat with your friends while playing, so the atmosphere can be fun and relaxed. The drawback for PC users is that it only works on Windows 10.
If you know what it is, you're probably surprised to see TeamViewer on this list, but I like to improvise. While designed with something very different in mind, this application is actually a great means for you to share the music you love with those who are far away from you. Basically, you can use TeamViewer to play music from one of the PCs, so you both can listen to the same song at the same time. If you don't want to listen to random songs from the radio, this application is one of the simplest ways for you and your friends / loved-ones to hear the music that you are listening to.
Bonus Content: Pillow Talk
OK, this one is just for you and your significant other (unless you have a weird relationship with your friend), and it's not available quite yet, but it looked too cool not to mention it. PillowTalk helps you feel close to your loved-one even if you're far away by letting you hear the beating of their hearts while you fall sleep. Basically, it's a set made up of two bracelets and two small speakers (which go into the pillowcases). It works like this: the bracelets pick up your heartbeats and send it to your smartphone with the help of an app. The app then uses an Internet connection to transmit the data to your loved-one's smartphone and from there it goes into the speaker in his pillowcase allowing him or her to hear the beating of your heart. As I said, it's going to be a while until it's available, but if the distance is making you feel lonely, PillowTalk can probably make you feel better, so it's worth keeping an eye out for.