While we hope it doesn’t happen, it might just be the case that you don’t take to Skype very well. Maybe you’ll have problems using it, or maybe you’ll still be concerned about how safe and secure it is. If that’s the case, here is a list of six popular alternatives to Skype.
1. Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts is a communication tool that you can use to send text messages to, or make video calls with, your Google contacts. It works on mobile devices or your Chrome web browser, using the Internet. You can make calls (with or without video), send text messages, share files, and share your computer screen with other users. It’s a great tool to use for businesses to communicate with or train employees. For personal use, it’s a great way to connect to your contacts anywhere, as long as they have a connection to the Internet. Google Hangouts is free to use, and easy to download and install. If you use Gmail, Google Hangouts is already built in!
If you’d like to learn more about Google Hangouts, visit our Google Hangouts course.
Jitsi is an open-source (so everyone can see how it works) voice-over-Internet client that allows you to make phone calls, start video chats, and send and receive instant messages. Also, similar to Skype, it has features that allow you to share your screen with other users, and vice-versa. Jitsi’s main draws are that it is one of the most secure Internet communication tools out there, and it has tools to help cancel noises or echoes if your microphone quality is poor (as opposed to having to just mute your microphone whenever someone else is talking).
Despite the somewhat peculiar name, ooVoo is a common alternative to Skype. It allows free voice calls between ooVoo users, as well as calls to home and mobile phones for low rates. It also allows free video chat between up to 12 people, instant messaging, and screen sharing. Some of the cool unique features that ooVoo has are the built-in abilities to watch videos on YouTube while having a video chat, as well as to start and stop recording a voice or video conversation at any time.
UPDATE: As of November 25th, 2017, ooVoo has shut down.
Viber is another of Skype’s direct competitors, offering free instant messaging, file-sharing, voice calls, video chats, and more between users. It also offers a feature for calling home and mobile phones from Viber for a low cost, but this only works on certain mobile devices. Viber also has some social media features, like unique stickers for conveying moods, as well as “public chats” about anything and everything. And unlike many comparable services, you won’t see any advertisements on Viber.
While it doesn’t allow video chat, UberConference has a host of other powerful tools that make it an alternative to Skype worth considering. You can hold free voice calls with up to 10 people at once, record calls for easy playback, send computer files to others, and share your computer screen. You can also send an instant message to any one person, as well as mute them or see their social media profile with a single click.
Tango is a relatively new voice-over-Internet client. In addition to allowing free voice calls, video chat, and instant messaging, it also allows for free calls to home and mobile phones. While it may lack in quality, it makes up for that in simplicity. It also has several social media features, like the ability to search for and purchase music, as well as play games and share photos. Most of its features are geared towards mobile devices, but the essential ones work on desktop computers, too.
Have you used any of these services that are similar to Skype? What was your experience like? Are there other programs like Skype that you think our users would like to know about? Let us know in the comment section below.
Also, if you want to use one of these alternatives (or another of your choice) exclusively, our last tutorial will show you how to delete your Skype account.