Skype was one of the first messaging applications that revolutionized online communication. It was launched 11 years ago, but it suffered two changes in ownership, and now Microsoft is the rightful owner, after paying $8.5 billion on it, in May 2011. Google Hangouts, on the other hand, came in 2013 and it replaced three Google services: Google Talk, Google+ Messenger and Hangouts and besides the usual features, it also supports voice calls.
Skype is represented by white and blue colors, but the latest version 7.0 brought some minor changes to the interface, especially for the Mac version, which has now a sidebar to display both IMs and video at once. Until now, the users had to press the plus symbol to toggle between these two options. Microsoft also improved the file-sharing presentation, which has new icons to make a distinction between document formats such as docs and PDFs.
Hangouts is represented by a white and green interface and has three tabs for contacts, IMs and calls. In September 2014, Google improved the design for Windows and Chrome OS, introducing a darker background so that the images and videos would have a black “frame”.
On Skype, the users can call for free any friend that uses this application, and, starting from April 2014, Microsoft removed the $4.99 charge for group video calls. Also, the users can chat with up to nine people at once, without being charged. The mobile users can take part in videoconferences, but as audio-only entrants, while premium users are allowed to share screens on video calls and to show presentations.
Hangouts allows its users to create free group video calls for maximum ten people and if the host makes the session public, any person without a Google Plus account can be participate.
On Skype, you can send files of any type, from photos, to documents, PDFs etc.
On Hangouts, the users can share Drive files directly within Hangouts.
Applications and Integration
Microsoft allows the Office 365 users to make international Skype calls and they will get 60 minutes per month. However, for now, they can’t share 365 documents through Skype, and the application doesn’t support integration with Yammer. But, Skype integrated with Lync, which later was rebranded as Skype for Business.
Hangouts integrates with YouTube, Google Docs, SlideShare, Google+ Games, Gmail, Google Calendar, Maps and Google Drive.
Skype had a Premium subscription that cost $56 per year to make free group calling, but this fee has been withdrawn. Now, the users call landline and mobile numbers or send texts to these numbers with Skype Credit, but the rates depend from country to country. In the UK, the users will pay £1.55 per month to call their British friends, or £3.59 per month to call their American friends.
Hangouts doesn’t charge its Google+ users to make calls between them, but if they’ll opt for the Google Apps for Business, they’ll pay £32.50 per year. Also, to call landline and mobile numbers, they’ll pay extra.