Google Voice vs Skype
Last updated: January 24, 2017
Google Voice is an alternative telecommunications service. The service is configured and maintained by the user in a web-based application, styled after Google's e-mail service, Gmail. Google Voice currently provides free PC-to-PC voice and video calling worldwide between users of the Google Voice and Video Chat browser plugin
Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice and video calls and chats over the Internet. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free, while calls to both traditional landline telephones and mobile phones can be made for a fee using a debit-based user account system. Skype has also become popular for its additional features which include instant messaging, file transfer, and videoconferencing. Skype alternative for enterprise is called Skype for Business. Secure Skype alternatives are Signal and Telegram.
Latest news about Google Voice and Skype:
24.01.17. Google Voice gets group chat and other new features. Google has launched a refreshed version of its VoIP calling service Google Voice on mobile and the web. Largely, the update is about giving the product a more modern look-and-feel, after having not received a major upgrade in years. But the relaunch also includes a few new features, like support for photo-sharing, group conversations, Spanish-language voicemail transcription, and more. In the new app, the Google Voice inbox has separate tabs for your text messages, calls and voicemail, explains Google in its blog post about the update. Your conversations will now stay in one continuous thread, which makes it easier to keep up with the messages from your contacts in a single place.
15.12.16. Skype adds real-time translation to all VoIP calls. Last year Skype launched built-in Translator that allows to translate speech in real-time. Until now this feature was available only in video chat, but in the new version you'll be able to call people around the world and have your conversation interpreted instantaneously - even if they're using the last remaining rotary phone. When placing a call, users just need to set their language of choice and the tool will take care of the rest. The person on the other end of the line will hear a message stating that the call is being recorded and translated through the service, which will be very clear once the conversation begins. Windows Insider Program members will be the first to have access to the new feature. To date, nine spoken languages are supported: English, Spanish, French, German, Mandarin Chinese, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, Arabic and Russian.
16.11.16. Skype now allows to make calls without registration. Last year Skype enabled to invite to chat or video call people that don't have Skype account. Now it's possible to start chat and calls without registration also. All you have to do is go to Skype.com and click "Start a Conversation." You type in your name, it creates the chat with its own unique link that you can send to friends or colleagues. They don't need to use an account either. You can invite up to 300 people in a text chat or up to 25 on voice or video calls. The conversation only lasts for 24 hours, so you won't be able to go through your post history afterwards. You also won't be able to use Skype Translator or call phone numbers with the service; those still require you to have a Skype account.
11.08.16. Skype gets Bots. In the new version of the Skype for Windows 10, Microsoft added several Skype bots, the automated chat assistants that it introduced earlier this year in a limited preview. The new bots include those that can help you make travel arrangements, locate event tickets, pull in information from other applications and services and even keep you entertained. For example, the Skyscanner Bot lets you search for individual or group flights, return pricing information and route options. Then, it will provide a link where users can go to complete the booking.
06.07.16. Microsoft launched free Skype Meetings for small business. Microsoft launched Skype Meetings, a new audio and video conferencing tool specifically designed for small businesses. Unlike the fully featured Skype for Business product (that allows you to host meetings with up to 250 people and it’s deeply integrated into Outlook, Word and PowerPoint), Skype Meetings only allows PowerPoint collaboration (screen sharing, laser pointer, etc.) and screen sharing. Video calls are also limited to a maximum of 10 people during the first two months. After that, the maximum number of participants drops to three people. Participants can join Skype Meetings from virtually any device with the help of a personalized URL and the calls are powered by the same technology as Skype for Business calls. That means you will get to take advantage of Skype’s head tracking feature, for example, which ensures that a face will always be in the center of the screen, no matter where it is in the actual video image.
19.04.16. Skype voice and video calls now work plugin-free in Microsoft Edge. Microsoft is making Skype in the browser plugin-free, but for now - only in Microsoft Edge. Other browsers, including IE, Chrome, Firefox and Safari, will continue to require plugins as before. This includes Outlook.com, Office Online, and OneDrive, all of which, along with Skype for Web, will now support real-time, plugin-free voice, video and group calling when you’re using Microsoft Edge. The company has been more recently working on ways to allow anyone to join a Skype chat, even if they don’t have an account. Skype for Web was one easy way to connect these invitees to your chat session, but installing browser plugins could slow down that experience. Now when those users are on Edge, they can just click a link and start chatting.
16.03.16. Skype for Web now supports calling to mobile phones, landlines. Browser-based Skype for Web is getting a slew of new features that brings it more in line with its desktop and mobile counterparts – most notably the added ability to dial mobile phones and landlines. To make calls to mobile phones or landlines from the browser, you’ll need a subscription or Skype credit, as on other platforms. Then, once signed in, you can click on the phone call tab, pick a destination, and dial. Besides, the web version also now allows you to bring non-Skype users into a conversation easily, introduces notifications, and lets you watch YouTube videos in Skype for Web itself.
23.02.16. Skype discontinues its video messaging app Qik. Skype Qik, Microsoft’s attempt at spinning off video messaging into a simplified mobile application, is shutting down. The app was first introduced in fall 2014 to serve a different audience than the larger, more fully-featured, Skype application. Instead of offering real-time chat, screen sharing and audio and video calling, Qik was designed only for asynchronous video messaging. The app shared its name with the mobile video startup Skype acquired back in 2011, but the technologies were completely different. The older version of Qik was about live streaming. With new Qik, users could communicate by quickly sending video messages. However, according to a post on the Skype Developers’ blog, many of the ideas from Qik have now made their way over to Skype’s main application – including video messaging. Because Skype now supports Qik’s core functionality, the Qik app is being shut down.
20.01.16. Skype integrated with Slack. The new Slack integration allows team members using Slack’s real-time communication software a way to quickly start Skype voice or video call from within the Slack application. Once installed, kicking off a Skype call is as simple as just typing in “/skype” into the Slack chat interface, which will then display a join link. On the desktop, you’ll only need a web browser plugin, while on mobile, you’ll need to download the Skype mobile application onto your smartphone. Slack team members can also join as guests on a computer, or they can sign in using their Skype name or Microsoft account information.
15.01.16. Skype adds free group video calls to mobile apps. Skype announced the launch of free group video calling on Android, iPhone, iPad and Windows 10 mobile devices. The feature has been available for a couple of years on the desktop, for both Mac and PC, but had yet to make its way to mobile. Once it's live, the update will allow Skype users to make video calls with as many as 25 participants for free. While Skype has supported group video calls for some time, the feature was previously available only to those who subscribed to Skype for Business (though the free apps have supported group audio calls.)
16.06.15. Skype for Web is available globally. Skype has opened its web-based client beta to the entire world, after launching it broadly in the U.S. and U.K. earlier this month. Skype for Web also now supports Chromebook and Linux for instant messaging communication (no voice and video yet, those require a plug-in installation). To get at the Skype for Web Beta, just head to either web.skype.com or Skype.com and login when prompted. Based on my limited experience with the beta, it works as advertised, and now that Chromebooks get IM support, it should be a lot more useful to people looking to travel light and cheap and stay connected from wherever they want to communicate, with or without their own PC.
08.12.14. Microsoft enabled video calling between Skype and Lync users. Last year Microsoft enabled Skype-Lync interoperation with text messaging and audio. Today, the video integration also becomes available. Skype users can now video call contacts on Lync, and vice versa, Microsoft announced this morning. To use the now cross-platform video calling feature, you don’t have to do anything differently from before – you just kick off the call the same way you do today. However, video calling is supported only on an up-to-date Lync 2013 client on Android, iOS or Windows and on Skype for Windows desktop. Skype is now working to expand this integration to more platforms, starting with iOS and Android. The change follows a series of deeper integrations between the two products, the latter of which will be rebranded “Skype for Business” sometime in 2015.
15.11.14. Microsoft launches Skype for Web. Skype has brought its instant messaging, voice and video chat service to the browser with a new beta available now. For now it requires you to install a small plug-in to get voice and video calls, but Microsoft promises to bring Real-Time Communications (RTC) support, so you'll be able to use it without any plug-ins. Skype for Web works on Chrome for Windows, IE, Firefox or Safari. Chrome on Chromebooks and non-Windows platforms can use Skype for Web for instant messaging, but not yet for voice and video because the plugin hasn’t been configured for them yet. Skype had already come to the web in one form thanks to a plug-in for Outlook.com launched globally earlier this year, which enabled text, video and voice chat through the company’s web-based email inbox service.
11.11.14. Microsoft will rename Lync as Skype for Business. Microsoft will rebrand its enterprise communications solution Lync as Skype for Business in 2015. The change will see Lync’s interface harmonized to something close to the current Skype’s interface. Skype for Business won’t be available until next year. Lync won’t fold into Skype entirely — instead, it will remain a separate application. I saw a demo of an early version of the Skype for Business client last week, and it certainly did appear to be quite similar to how Skype looks now. Users in Skype for Business will able to call regular Skype users from the application. The rebranding fits with Microsoft's strategy to "re-invent productivity" for all, not just business. To that end, it wants to offer a unified experience across services, so consumers and businesses have similar experiences.
15.10.14. Microsoft launched video messaging service Skype Qik. Microsoft unveiled group video messaging app called Skype Qik. The cross-platform software works on iPhones, Android handsets and Windows Phones. Skype Qik app works with single and group video messages; anyone in the group can add anyone else they’d like using a phone number. To record a video message, users simply press the large pink button in the app. Messages last up to two weeks before they automatically disappear, although you can manually delete them as well. Contacts that don’t have Skype Qik installed will get a text message to explain how they can install the app and become part of the conversation. Short messages — called Qik Fliks — can also be captured and sent as five-second animated GIFs; these can also be saved for re-use.
13.10.14. Skype 7 refocuses on chat. Skype has introduced new versions of its desktop clients: Skype 7 for Mac and preview of Skype for Windows now share the same design. The Skype redesign mimics Skype on mobile and will definitely take some getting used to on the desktop, but once you grow accustomed to the big aesthetic changes, the small functional ones are what really impress. For instance, now in your chat window you’ll be able to view shared image files instantly in-line once they download, instead of having to click a little icon to view or preview them. The Windows versions has increase spacing between your contacts list and your chat and there are message previews for things you haven’t read yet, so you can get a quick look without even switching between chats.
30.08.14. Microsoft kills MSN Messenger. Microsoft is officially killing its 15-year-old instant messaging program Windows Live Messenger (formerly MSN Messenger). Microsoft announced it would be closing Windows Live and pushing users over to Skype in 2012, but the service had stuck around in China — until now. MSN Messenger first launched in 1999 as Microsoft's answer to the then-popular AOL Instant Messenger. Like so many messaging apps before and since, it started off simple, with basic IM functionality — but soon expanded with new features such as photo messaging, screen-sharing, voice and video chatting.
13.06.14. Skype 5.0 for iPhone looks cooler, works faster. Microsoft has launched Skype for iPhone 5.0 with major redesign and performance tweaks. The updated app looks very similar to Windows Phone. It features ribbon navigation bar at the top and on the bottom - a pair buttons that put the two most used-features based on context at thumb-point. The performance seemed significantly improved: Lag was almost imperceptible, and when there were slight delays they were ameliorated by fluid animations. The new Skype client makes it easier to start group chats and it also syncs notifications across devices — even if the recipient isn’t logged into Skype when the message is sent. The increased emphasis on text messaging makes sense, especially as startups and established companies strive to be the one messaging app to rule them all.
29.04.14. Skype makes group video calls free. Until now, group video calling in Skype was available only in the premium accounts, which cost $8.99/month. Now this feature will be available for free so you'll be able to organize unlimited online meetings with up to 10 participants. For a while the free group video calling is only available in the desktop version (Windows and Mac) and on Xbox. Soon Microsoft will add it to the mobile versions (iOS, Android and Windows Phone). This video shows how to start a group video call. Recall that not so long ago one of Skype's competitors - GoToMeeting also launched free video chat for 3 participants.
05.03.14. Skype for Outlook.com now available worldwide. The opportunity to make video calls via Skype right from your browser is now available for all Outlook.com users (previously this feature was only available in US and UK). In fact - this is Skype's web version, however, it doesn't mean that you don't need to install software on your computer. You still need to install browser plugin. But the plus is that you don't need to create a separate Skype-account. You just need the universal Microsoft account. Besides the global expansion, Outlook.com now can make video-calls in HD. Thus, Microsoft's Outlook.com is playing catch up with Google's GMail, that already has video calling feature via Google Hangouts. However, the advantage of Google's service is that it supports free group video calls for up to 10 people.