Google Voice vs Skype: App Communication Showdown
Google Voice vs Skype: Both offer a plethora of communication options, particularly video conferencing and VoIP services. So if you want to make a business call or start a video talk with the family without using traditional phone services, which should you choose? Let’s take a look.
Breaking Down the Google Voice vs Skype Matchup
We’re dealing with Internet-based, streaming services here, so keep in mind that your bandwidth is going to impact performance here.
Google Voice is an app available on both mobile phones and desktop services that allows for phone calls and, with some work, video calls between different people. Voice has been around since 2013, and Google has been tinkering with it ever since.
Because of this tinkering, Google Voice is in somewhat of a transition right now. Depending on the device, there is overlap between Google Voice and Google Hangouts. Hangouts is a more general group chat and communication tool, while Talk is designed specifically for VoIP services. Sometimes you may be only be using Voice through Hangouts (as is encouraged on Android devices) and sometimes you can download Voices separately. Eventually, Google may permanently combine the two features, so that’s something to be aware of.
Google is primarily focused on the United States when it comes to communication, but to those communicating domestically, you get unlimited domestic calls. This applies not only to other people using Google Voice, but also for all both mobile and landline numbers. If you also use Hangouts, then you get free domestic SMS communication too. Voicemail is also a free feature.
Also, if you are interested in voice calls, you may have to jump through a few extra hurdles to get on board. This requires the use of “Voice and Video Chat,” which is a separate plugin you will have to download. On the plus side, this also comes with free international calling to others with Google Voice. Calling landlines internationally will cost 2 cents per minute, and calling mobiles will cost 10 cents per minute.
Ease of Use
For domestic calls, Google Voice is very easy, especially if you are already familiar with Google services and use them regularly. But for video chatting or international work, Voice quickly becomes more complicated — and more expensive. In the Google Voice vs Skype battle, Voice when it comes to the simpler services.
Skype has a much longer history than Google Voice, with a service that originated in 2003 and has gone through numerous iterations since then. In many ways it created the foundation for web communication with its app that allowed users to communicate directly with each other in real time, using computer microphones and monitor screens — then eventually, smartphones. Since Microsoft acquired Skype in the early 2000s, it has also replaced Windows Live Messenger.
Like Google Hangouts, Skype allows for many types of communication, including instant messaging, conference calls, and screen sharing. However, Skype places more focus on innate videoconferencing apps, making it the favorite of far-away families and distance relationships. It also runs on more devices, including BlackBerry and Microsoft platforms that Google Voice may not support.
Right off the bat, Skype supports both video and voice chatting without the need to download any additional plugins or take extra steps. Group video chat is also available, but you’ll need to be part of Skype Premium, which costs extra. Skype also tends to be more internationally focused than Google Voice. It also supports free international calls between Skype apps, no extra hoops necessary, although worldwide calling to all landlines and mobile devices will cost $13.99 per month — specific monthly rates for a certain country can vary. However, domestic calling is a little limited in some ways. Skype to Skype domestic calls are free, but for other devices, even within the U.S., you need to pay the domestic monthly rate ($2.99 for North America)or pay as you go at 2.3 cents per minute. Text messaging and call recording are both free, however,
Skype Credit is a multipurpose type of Skype money that you can use to pay for these subscription services, or other services like text messaging.
Ease of Use
If you like video calls through applications, Skype is particularly easy to use. This is also true if you need to make a lot of international calls for business or family reasons.
However, using text messaging or calling landlines it going to be a bit more complicated than Google Voice, and will probably cost you more money, too. when it comes to Google Voice vs Skype, keep in mind that Skype is a separate platform from Microsoft and requires a bit of learning to use fully if you’ve never tried it before.
Photo Credit: GlobalX
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