In the battle of free voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, only two contenders are vying for the top spot – Microsoft’s Skype and Google Voice. Both are used for personal and business, making them a better option than other messaging clients. But which one is better between the two?
Let’s examine both services based on their features.
- Video chat
Both Skype and Google Voice offer video chat, but the latter would require a plug-in installation so it will be integrated with Google voice and video chat that are essential to make the feature work. Clearly, Skype gets the upper hand, where ease of use is concerned.
- Free video group chat
Video group chat is free on Google Voice, but only through Google+ Hangouts. But it’s a better deal than paying for a Skype Premium subscription just to video chat with your circle of friends.
- Integration of Voice, IM, and Video on a single platform
This is one other area where Google must improve if its VoIP service is to compete with Skype. It may not take a lot of work to install the Voice and Video Chat plug-in, but the integrated feature is standard on Skype. The very fact that you don’t need to install anything is a huge bonus, especially for users who are not so tech-savvy.
- Free individual phone number
Do you want to get your own number when using a VoIP service? You should install Google Voice, as it offers the feature for free.
- Free SMS
Domestic SMS on Google Voice is free, but not on Skype.
- Free voice mail
Both VoIP Services allow free voice mail, but only Google Voice lets you listen to voicemail in real time and answer the call whenever you want. That’s the kind of convenience many users look for in communication apps and devices.
- Free international calling
Only Skype allows free international calls, but only between Skype users. This is a lot better than no free international calls at all.
- Free call forwarding
Google Voice allows free call forwarding, Skype doesn’t.
- Unlimited domestic calls
This is where Google Voice kicks Skype to the curb, as it allows unlimited domestic calls between Google Voice users and to mobile and landline numbers. Although Skype-to-Skype domestic calls are free, those made to mobile and landline phones will cost you a per-minute or monthly subscription.
- Free voicemail transcription
Google Voice is whipping Skype where freebies are concerned. Who would want to pay for voicemail transcription at 25 cents/message?
- Free call recording
Skype doesn’t allow free call recording. Google voice, on the other hand, records incoming calls for free but not outgoing calls.
- Free call blocking
This is the one feature that both VoIP services share. Anyone who wants to block a call can do so for free on either app.
- Phone plan requirement
A phone plan is needed if you want to use Google voice, which isn’t exactly free. You can always use Wi-Fi after you’ve installed the required plug-in. Skype, on the other hand, only needs an online connection to start a conversation.
Want to know how Skype compares with WhatsApp and Hangouts? Find out.