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As skype improves, are Google+ Hangouts becoming obsolete?

Despite an overwhelming disparity between actual Skype vs. Google+ Hangout users, Skype is still adding features to compete. Which do you prefer?

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The chicken or the egg? Skype vs. Google Hangouts

Depending on who you listen to or what your overall opinion is, it’s easy to fall victim to the hype regarding Google Hangouts’ chat benefits and consider it the next best thing on the VoIP service horizon.

Introduced as a challenge to the durable presence of Skype, Google Hangouts was introduced in May of 2013 and has built up a sizeable following. In that time, like all social media platforms, both Skype and GP continue to tweak themselves in an effort to demonstrate who is king of the roost.

But according to Global Web Index, for Google Hangouts it may all be a case of smoke and mirrors. User data culled during the month of September 2015 reveals a significant disparity between the two chat service providers. Nearly 21% of internet users rely on the Skype app compared to only 6% who fall in line with Google Hangout. You can pin all your dreams on GH, but the numbers don’t lie.

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Consistent Performance

Far from becoming “your Dad’s VoIP service”, Skype has continued to build on it’s I-was-here-first notoriety. In fact, Skype’s position as the IM app has remained consistent over time. What’s more, Skype’s dominance is pronounced across all age groups. Skype can boast of already being the go-to-VoIP app and its recent addition of shareable chat links (once a feature exclusive only to Hangouts) could well enable Skype to broaden its user-base even further by allowing non-account holders to chat via the service.

Skype and business

So what is it that apparently gives Skype the edge among chat users who can choose between the two services? Rather than itemize the pluses and minuses of each, Richard Costello, senior research analyst for the global market intelligence firm International Data Corporation, feels that in some respects both Skype and Google Hangout have more similarities than differences, but in the business arena, Skype has pulled away from the pack thanks to its integration with Microsoft Lync. Following Lync 2013’s recent rebrand as Skype for Business, the new platform is a plus for users.

“Merging the consumer and business worlds closer together will improve the user experience and reduce the necessity for users to move between applications.”

Costello commented further that some users may want to unite various Skype personas using only one account for both business and personal contacts, which should add value from an end user perspective.

Although Hangouts does have a loyal following, Skype’s added versatility in offering these chat links is likely to bring it a boost.

#Skype

Nearly three decades living and working all over the world as a radio and television broadcast journalist in the United States Air Force, Staff Writer, Gary Picariello is now retired from the military and is focused on his writing career.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. James Edwards

    November 13, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    Although both are similar with the use of VOIP but with a difference- Hangouts does not charge for calls made in the US but does charge for international calls whereas Skype charges for calls.

  2. Alice PB

    November 23, 2015 at 9:47 am

    There seems to be a little fan-boy bias here. In the same way Google has eclipsed Microsoft Office’s stranglehold on office productivity and led Microsoft to adapt it’s business model, I think Skype has a way to go to compete with Hangouts’ more inclusive utility.

  3. Gregory Kramida

    January 2, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    I use linux so… GH is the default. If MS continued its development of Skype for Linux, I would really care less what to use.

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Earbuds that are noise cancelling hit the market just in time for the holidays

(TECH NEWS) There are no shortage of earbuds on the market, however, Nuheara’s noise cancelling, bluetooth earbuds are sure to top everyone’s wish list.

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Noise cancelling earbuds are efficient for blocking out the world around you – when all you want to hear is your music and nothing else. However, for those who want a smaller, sleeker alternative, Nuheara is the perfect fit.

Nuheara are wireless audio earbuds that are customizable to your hearing needs. Even though they have the same power as noise cancelling headphones, they can be adjusted to amplify or minimize sound based on each situation.

You can choose to blend the sounds of the streets and your new favorite album in order to be aware of the world around you. The earbuds are ideal for any situation.

The noise cancelling earbuds use SINC (Superior Intelligent Noise Control) technology, which lets every user create their custom hearing experience.

There are numerous times when it’s hard to hear because of the noise around us. This may be in crowded restaurants, concerts or even when you’re at home trying to avoid the noisy neighbor in the apartment above you.

The SINC technology applies a frequency filter to sounds you choose to hear or want to avoid. Additionally, the left and right earbuds have their own settings, so that they can be customized individually. Everything is customized through the app, so it’s up to each user to decide!

Prior to founding Nuheara, Justin Miller and David Cannington worked in the oil and gas companies creating industrial strength hearing headsets.

The feedback they received during these experiences paved the way for inventing Nuheara. People wanted a sleek headset that they could wear in everyday life, not just at their job.

The earbuds will set you back a few hundred bucks, but they come with accessories like a battery charger, carrying case and 8 different silicone tips. The battery charger provides three full charges. Nuheara earbuds are also sweat and water resistant, but they are not yet waterproof.

As wireless headphones, Nuheara are also compatible with most Bluetooth connected devices. The earbuds also use tap-touch control to make hands-free phone calls, control music and adjust settings.

There is no need to connect Nuheara to external devices to use their noise cancelling capabilities.

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Turn your FAQ page into a chatbot without knowing how to code

(TECH NEWS) An easy way to add a chatbot to your site and automate some of your work is through this new simple tool that doesn’t require any tech know-how.

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Reduce your workload and personalize customer service engagement with Faqbot, the tool that turns your online FAQ into a customized chatbot.

Co-founded by Denny Wong and CEO Mathis André, Faqbot uses machine learning to streamline frequently asked questions into a handy chatbot pal.

Based on your existing FAQ content, Faqbot builds a database that learns from every conversation to improve responses. Faqbot can also be used to automate sales and lead generation.

You get to design the conversation flow, mapping out a custom path to guide users to a desired outcome. Set predefined choices or free text, customize the bot’s responses, and determine what leading questions the bot should ask.

For example, on the Faqbot site, I was given two pre-set choices to click after each response from the bot. Clicking “Thanks for helping” gets the polite response “You are welcome! ;-)” complete with an old-school emoji featuring a nose.

If you select “not my question,” Faqbot uses its general response to any unanswerable question: “Sorry, I’m a chatbot. I am constantly learning and have answers to frequently asked questions. Thank you for leaving your email and we will get back to you shortly.”

Choose your own responses based on already defined FAQ or come up with new messaging to better engage and inform your customers as needed. The free text option is also available if customers wish to continue asking questions.

Of course, I had to try out some less than frequently asked questions. When I asked Faqbot “are we friends?” it kindly replied, “Absolutely. You don’t have to ask.” So I’m smitten.

However, when I tried to take it to the next level by asking “Do you love me?,” which seems to be the internet’s favorite way to harass a bot, I got the “Sorry, I’m a chatbot” response.

That’s okay. I’ll recover. Faqbot isn’t here to love, it’s here to answer questions.

You can easily install the chatbot by either copy/pasting the snippet of codes directly into your webpage, or connect Faqbot to your company’s Facebook page. No coding skills required.

Pricing is based on number of users per month, but all levels include the same service offerings of FAQ database management, messaging interface, a ticketing system, and DIY guided conversation flow. You can try out Faqbot free for 14 days by signing up on their site.

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This note-taking app is perfect for the creative mind

(TECH NEWS) The newest app for note-taking could be a tremendous asset for a very specific type of creative that tools like trello and evernote fall short on… not all apps work for all people.

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If you’re like me, you’ve had many phases in your idea-having, note-taking life. There was the AP History period, where I decided the quality of my notes would be judged based on the tininess of my handwriting and the number of innovative abbreviations coined. There was the “song collection” period, in which I wrote down song and band names with reckless abandon, on any scrap of paper or non-paper within reach, and promptly scattered the scraps everywhere. There was the post-it era, in which every single idea was carefully documented on a “Sticky Note” that tiled over my Windows desktop and was impossible to find thereafter.

And then, there was Evernote, and Trello, and I thought my evolution was complete. I had neatly organized “Notebooks” and “Cards” and I felt very structured and efficient and spiritually done with my note-taking journey.

But a whisper of rebellion called out to me. It sounded musical, colorful, whimsical. It asked me whether I wouldn’t like to liberate myself from those neat lists and stacks, let my ideas flow, visualize my thoughts?

It introduced me to Milanote – the note-taking app truly made FOR images, not just tolerant of them.

Milanote markets itself toward creatives: “For the research, thinking and planning behind your next great piece of work.”

But the strengths of this app could benefit anyone who could use a more freeform space to collect their thoughts. A blank page resembles a peg board, and users can add images, notes, links, and more in any configuration their hearts desire. You can also link any elements together with a web of lines, or leave them on their own.

This could be a great app for early-stage brainstorming and planning, when you need to play around and be flexible.

Milanote can be collaborative, like Trello, or individual and personal, like my always-evolving grocery list in Evernote. Milanote currently works in any web browser, and iOs and Android apps are coming soon.

For up to 100 notes, Milanote can be yours free of charge. More than that, though, and you’ll have to pay $9.99 for the pro version.

Something tells me infinity should cost much more, but the organic, customizable concept is something to hold on to.

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