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.
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.