Skype vs. Google Video Chat

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Skype vs. Google Video Chat

Round 4: Additional Features

Both services include the ability to make free voice calls to other members and low-cost calls to outside telephone lines, but Google one-ups Skype by offering free calls to the U.S. and Canada. Skype currently charges 2.3 cents per minute for domestic U.S. calls.

Google offers free, limited texting through Google Voice, but not directly through the video plugin itself. You need to pay 9 cents per domestic text with Skype.

Google also comes out on top during group video chats. Google+ Hangouts are easy, powerful, and support up to 10 simultaneous users, for free. The ability to edit Google Docs or watch YouTube videos as a group is a huge plus. Skype handles 10-person video conferences, too, but at least one person has to have a Premium subscription.

Winner: Google

Round 5: Number of Users

This originally wasn't even going to be a category, but then we tried to actually use Google's video chat and none of our numerous Google contacts were online to serve as test subjects, aside from fellow professional tech dorks. Ditto the second time we went online… and the third… and the seventh…. 

Posting a request for help on Google+, where we have hundreds of followers, resulted in a couple of positive responses (thanks, Scott Davis and Trevor Foster!) and several comments along the line of, "Meh, I don't use that." 

Skype, however, is virtually synonymous with video chatting and overflowing with active users. A key factor is the integrated Facebook functionality; your Facebook Friends also appear online with Skype. Finding people to chat with is a snap on Skype.

Winner: Skype

And the Winner Is…

What? Google video chat won three out of five rounds—including A/V quality, by far—and Skype still wins the crown? Yep, and here's why: Google video chat is a ghost town. Skype may not look as pretty or offer Google video chat's bells and whistles, but it's nevertheless an incredibly solid service with a user base that actually uses it. Your mileage may vary if you can convince your pals to board Google's bandwagon, however.  

Note: This article was taken from the September issue of the magazine

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