Skype stands out as the most popular online service for communicating with friends, family, and business team members and is even used for interviewing and remote meetings. It is so well known and liked that the word Skype and Skyping have become part of the standard lexicon and mean any type of video chat.
Top 10 Awesome Skype Alternatives
Skype is a popular chatting program, however, and other options may give you similar experience when talking with people on the other side of the globe or just across the street..
1. Google Voice
When you sign up for Google Voice, you receive one phone number that can be used on your phone, tablets, laptop and desktop computers. It covers local and international calling with one person or you can join in on conference calls. This number works at home, in the office or on the go.
Google Voice lets you block people you do not want to get calls from, receive voicemail and record notes. You can also use this number for up to five text messages at a time.
One drawback of using Google Voice is that it is only available to people in the USA at the present time. People in other countries could use their iOS or Android phones or computers to use Google Hangouts to make calls instead. Current prices are quite low. US and Canada calls are mostly free while calls coming into those countries cost just one cent for each minute.
Although VSee launched as a way for doctors and other medical professionals to consult with patients remotely, it can be used by anyone for any other purpose. It allows unlimited video contacts with absolutely no cost to you.
One great benefit of VSee is that it uses half as much bandwidth as Skype does, which could be important for those with less than stellar internet service. Video calls run in 720P high definition and allow for file sharing between users. Other benefits of the free VSee plan include:
- · Instant messages
- · Unlimited video with groups
- · Ability to send files
- · Daily screen capture sharing
If you want to send more than one screen share every day, there is a premium, paid VSee option to use. Plans start at just $9.00 per month. Students with .edu emails can get the paid service for free as well.
If you need a powerful video conferencing program, GoToMeeting is highly recommended even though it is not free. To determine if it is the right choice for you, sign up and get their free month of service trial. After this is done, the service is $49.00 per month. It may seem like a lot of money for something other programs do for less, but GoToMeeting has some amazing features that might make it worthwhile for you.
- · Unlimited video conferencing of up to 25 members at a time
- · High definition video and audio format
- · All popular devices supported: Windows PC, Mac, iOS and Android
- · Screen sharing with just one click, keyboard controls and click and drag selections
GoToMeeting also has two sister programs called GoToWebinar, which lets you host webinars, and GoToTraining, which is for shared training sessions. If you’re interested in recording the online meeting, you may also learn how to record GoToMeeting.
Although Viber began as a multi-platform mobile application, it has expanded to offer text and voice communications on Mac and Windows computers as well. Viber allows free voice and video calls worldwide as long as the program is installed on both the caller and the recipient's machines. If you simply want to make a call, Viber can contact any home phone or cell number for a low cost. Viber runs no ads for a clean, uncluttered experience.
This simple program offers a user-friendly way to video chat with individuals, hold conference calls and send text messages around the world. Video chats support up to a dozen people at a time. Oovoo works on Mac, Windows PC, iOS and Android devices. Other features include:
- · High definition video chat options
- · Screen sharing and file sharing
- · Video recording and one-click submission to YouTube
- · Premium ads-free option also allows phone calls and 1000 minutes of file storage
Jitsi focuses on VoIP communication, audio and video chats, streaming desktops, instant messaging, call recording and encryption. With all these features, it is a very powerful option for world-wide communicating. Noise suppression for poor microphones and echo cancellation options are also included.
Many online chatting protocols are supported by Jitsi: SIP, MSN, Yahoo!, ICQ, Bonjour and XMPP, which is used by Google Talk, Facebook and Jabber. The program works well on Mac, Windows and Linux platforms.
VoIP connection between Goober users is always free whether you use just audio or also video communication. If you want to contact a non-user, Goober offers low rates based on geographic location. Video conferences work for up to 6 users and audio conferenced can work for an unlimited number.
Goober seems to focus on the social networking aspect of communication rather than targeted business or more professional options. Instant messaging can access AIM, Yahoo!, Google Talk, Jabber, MSN, ICQ and many more platforms. This Mac, Windows and Linux supported program also lets you access Twitter and Facebook directly.
Calling friends, families or colleagues through VoxOx is 100% free if they have the program as well. It has an option to call non-VoxOx users as well, but you will have to pay inexpensive rates for the contact.
A quick glance at the free options included with VoxOx should convince you this is a powerful program. It offers each member a free phone number with voicemail, inbound calls, texts and fax options, chat, conference calls, file sharing, social networking and more. It works well on both Mac and Windows machines.
Since Appear.in started in August 2013, it has grown considerably into a respectable video chat service. They have goals to expand even further and offer worldwide communications. At present, you can hold video chats for up to eight people at a time.
No account or payments needed to use this program. It launches right from the Firefox, Chrome or Opera internet browser and operates solely on the web. All you have to do to host a chat is type in a name for the room and then send the link to whoever you want to chat with.
If you want more customization options for the video chat room, you can claim one by adding your email address. This allows you to block people from entering, kick out unwanted guests and adjust the chat room layout.
WeChat works on any desktop, laptop or mobile device with a data plan or WiFi access. It allows you to make phone or video calls, conference calls and send both text and voice messages.
The "Look Around" feature lets you search for random people based on their location. "Moments" is all about taking photos and sending them to your contacts. "Walkie Talkie" works just like the old-fashioned devices of the same name. The intuitive UI allows you to see who is in the chat and who is currently talking.
WeChat can be downloaded by scanning a QR Code. It offers the unique "Shake" capability that connects you with other users when you actually shake your smartphone. This lets you send a friendly "Hello!" to people in your general location.