Video chatting is one of my favorite things ever because it closes a distance that phones and emails just cannot. How can one not love getting on a video call after work and seeing their family or friends who are time zones or miles away? It almost makes the distance bearable, especially when you can get a group call together (virtual reunion, anyone?). The last couple weeks, I’ve done a little comparison of Skype and Google Hangout.

I used to be a big promoter of Skype and although Skype has many awesome qualities, I’m officially moving my loyalty to Google Hangout.

My reasons are as follows,

My brother trying on some virtual eye brows.

  • The quality of the calls are better. I often find myself hanging up and calling folks back to refresh on Skype because of echos or delays. I rarely have to do it during my Google Hangout sessions. Of course, I’ve only done it a few times now, but not only do my calls not get dropped, there are new features every time I login.
  • It allows for multiple people to be on a call without having to pay for an upgraded account. Skype Premium allows for group calls but everyone has to have it and it is $4.99 a month. Super big bummer. Google Hangout just requires you to have a Google account. Big win in the money department. And this means you can have parents, aunts, uncle, grandkids, etc. all on one call. This is superbly awesome during the holidays.
  • The Google Hangout user interface is typical Google minimal, but packed with buttons and ways to minimize sidebars. You can share screens easily, work in documents together, and chat with each other. I can see how Google Hangout definitely would be useful in business situations as opposed to Skype.
  • Bonus: the effects!!! I spent a half hour with my family giggling during our hangout because you could dress yourself up with accessories. The facial recognition is super fun. And impressive. So cheesy. So funny. Totally worth it and brings immediate joy and fun. My mom even joined and tried on some virtual outfits. She’s an amazing 64 years young. And warning, it doesn’t recognize dog faces. Mom tried with my little dog. Silly lady.

Here is a fun pic and a vid for you to see it in action. (The nieces were just freshly showered which is why their luxurious locks are all covered! Thanks family for agreeing to let me post your pics.)

Mom trying on some masks. She surprised us with her skillz.

I know. I seem to always be chatting about Google products, but I can’t help it. There are just so many free, awesome, mostly user-friendly things Google provides that I can’t help but give them props and promote them in the community where everyone is always looking for the easiest way to manage their technology and information. FYI, Google Drive gives up 5GB for free when Dropbox only gives up 2GB. And Google Reader just simply rules for consuming interweb content.

Onwards. Happy video chatting to all, especially during this holiday season.

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