That's why Microsoft took so long to do this. They had little incentive to do so until others did, and even when the writing on the wall was clear, they still faced the innovator's dilemma.
It seems obvious to us, but we are an exception. Most of the people just don't care.
Soon to be followed with "HEY BUDDY, DID YOU KNOW OFFICE 365 WORKS ON ALL YOUR DEVICES? AND IT'S 10% OFF!"
Skype had free video group calls long before Google Hangouts even existed. If I remember correctly, they forced their users to pay for it a few months or a year after Google Hangouts launched, which was a really stupid move which surely helped Google's product a lot.
Skype remains just another proprietary walled garden communication network which in addition can't be trusted. It should be avoided.
My dad is mostly retired, he rents out his office, but his secretary still comes into the office one afternoon a week. I didn't want to stress her out by asking her to learn new technology, but the phone was used only an hour or two a month. I ported the same number he'd had for a few decades to Google Voice, and attached an ObiHai box so that she can use a regular phone, rather than needing to understand why messages are in Google Voice but outgoing calls are placed using Google Chat, or use a special earpiece plugged into the computer.
Anyway, over the two years that it worked it saved a couple thousand dollars that would have been spent to use the phone for about 30 hours. Since Google Voice will no longer be compatible with ObiHai devices this month (moving away from XMPP), I ported the number to Anveo, which is no longer free, but still only $40/year.
Both Microsoft and Google should offer small businesses packaged services where you bring your own internet service, then buy telephone plus email using your own domain name from them for a flat fee. Something like $200-400/year for 1-3 users would find an enormous market. Afterwards, they could sell office suites, billing/accounting software, scheduling software as add-ons.
Right now it is needlessly complicated for people who have minimal communication needs, and don't care about technology, to avoid huge costs. It's kind of absurd to consider how little service someone like a barber or a shop owner gets after paying fees that make up a significant part of their operating costs.
Microsoft is focusing on the enterprise, because that's where the money is. For example, CERN is using Microsoft Lync as an IP PBX, using the Polycom CX300. It looks like a desk telephone and works like a desk telephone. It can even retrieve voicemail. But it plugs in to a USB port and uses Lync for calling. https://espace.cern.ch/mmmservices-help/UnifiedCommunication...
It's a lot simpler to sell to CERN and pick up 2500 users, than to sell to 2500 different barbershops. For one thing, CERN has competent IT staff who won't be costing Microsoft a lot of money in support calls.
As for Google, they seem to actively be avoiding telephony. For example, Gizmo5 used to offer SIP connectivity, and then Google got rid of Google Voice forwarding to Gizmo5. And now the elimination of XMPP and the option to use Obihai. Even Google Fiber was set up as a double-play instead of a triple-play: they'll sell you Internet and television, but not phone.
I get the feeling that Google wants to make absolutely sure that it is not regulated as a telephony provider, with all the hassles around 911, service availability, being able to call high-cost rural exchanges, etc.
I think you've got it backwards, there's nothing Microsoft loves more then support calls because that's where their real cash cow is: charging enterprise monstrous yearly support fees.
Consumers and small businesses aren't nearly as willing to open their wallets for support. The best customer is one who pays the annual fee and never calls in for support.
It is funny how you say 'right now'. Jitsi tends to be not that stable from time to time.. so I have the same feeling. :)
Advice: Use IPv6. If either party can not get a native connection look for a free tunnel provider. Start jitsi with -6 as parameter and it will prioritise v6 connections. This fixed all kinds of 'nat-nat-nat' setups that some friends are forced into. (Make sure the implications of having a public address are understood.)
Another wonderful thing about jitsi is the availability for multiple platforms and crypto support for otr or zrtp. There is also a video bridge is bandwidth is a concern on video calls.
Does anybody know an skype like echo system for sip or xmpp? Perhaps even with crypto and video support?
For the most part, no one cares whether they're using something that is open source or proprietary. Most people don't event care much about abstract concepts like "security" or "encryption" when it comes at the cost of their real goal -- communicating with family and friends. Once some secure platform is as easy to use and as prevalent as Skype or Google Hangouts, maybe people will start using them.
 A sibling post suggests setting up Jitsi with IPv6 and starting the program with the -6 parameter to fix some connection issues. I would hope it's clear why needing to use certain command line parameters and understanding "the implications of having a public address" to use a chat program makes it a non-starter for a vast amount of people.
 As it turns out, advertising and marketing matter! You can't have a popular chat platform if no one knows you exist!
You say it as if it's universal and intractable. Awareness has jumped since Snowden's revelations began, AFAICT, and I've read several places that security-oriented services have seen a very large jump in demand.
Now that group video calls are free for everyone, we’ve removed Premium to give it a refresh. But don’t worry, you can still call phones worldwide at great low rates with our subscriptions.
My mother and myself are not serious cell phone users, and we use < $40/year subscriptions to make all our US long distance calls, and many local calls (she's 77 and has lost a fair amount of her hearing, so the high quality of Skype calls and flexibility of using a good headset is particularly appreciated. I also like those features).
We keep waiting for Microsoft to screw it up, but they amazingly haven't so far.
No doubt I could do both more cheaply another way, but I do them both so rarely that Skype just already being there "and just working" is great. I pay at most £20 / year.
Even if not, the NSA probably wouldn't let Microsoft shut Skype down
Are you telling me that you experience the opposite? If so, that's very odd.
That will redirect you to a new hangout URL, and (in my experience) you can just copy/paste the new URL to other folks. To use it, they'll need to be logged into a G+ account, but it doesn't matter which one.
I find the screen sharing feature in Skype to be poor quality. We tend to use Skype for calls, and then join.me for screen sharing.
We sometimes have call quality problems on Skype too. We also switch to hangouts for this reason, and we are often surprised how good the call quality, video quality and screen share quality is on hangouts.
Only problem is that nobody can figure out how to login or start a hangout. The interface is damn awful. They need a simple app like Skype's that installs like Chrome does, and give me history for gods sake. How hard is that to deliver?
One of the reasons I shy away from hangouts, is that I use Skype to backfill my timesheet. I can see exactly what calls, video calls, chats I made going back to 2006 on Skype's history. Admittedly so can the NSA, but still, the feature is awesome from a work perspective.
I bought an iPad to my mom for Christmas and facetime with them now. It's the best I've found - even easier for them to use than Skype. They call me, I call them, there no confusion anymore.
No idea about the group chat, but I will agree on Skype working really badly (despite their 10+ years of experience) compared to newer solutions as hangout and facetime.
Note Hangouts itself once was Gtalk, which I was a user of, prior to the first cattle herding on to Google+. Now Gundotra is out the door, there is no telling into which silo existing G+ users will be cattle-herded next. Hangouts might be technically superior (although I personally think Skype's rate-adaptive video is second to none), but the treatment of users by its parent company, and their endless thirst for personal data keeps me far away.
Skype just works, just like it has for the past decade, and just like I expect it will continue to in the coming years. I'd place a small wager on Hangouts being long dead, or at the very least rebranded before then
Most elegant video chat product in existence.
Then it got super complicated with circles and adding people via their g+ accounts and people who use 3rd party chat programs and permissions etc etc etc..
Sounds weird, but it definitely made a difference for me.
Imagine having a group call on Xbox One - TV, that would be a sweet conversation and I for one really appreciate this new feature.
TV is the only place Xbox wins today. Though google does have some TV toys right now (Google TV and Chromecast). They could probably look into adding a webcam to that with hangouts.
And same time I know hundreds who use skype on daily basic on literally every device they own. Including TV. Only device in my house lacking skype it's refrigerator.
I've noticed this too. For a while I was on a really poor internet connection and on Skype calls video just didn't work. However FaceTime was practically flawless on the same connection.
Either that, or better bandwidth because less people use Facetime.
I don't have personal experience comparing the qualities of Skype vs FaceTime, but I guess Apple is willing to spend more per user. That makes sense: FaceTime sells hardware, and that brings in money, while Skype seems more like a land grab, especially with this 'group calls are free, too' change. It could also be defensive, with Microsoft thinking they have to offer this to prevent would-be Office 365 users from migrating to Google docs.
 - http://www.macworld.com/article/1157435/skype5.html
When I switch over to using facetime, the video quality is amazing. I don't know what happened to Skype, but its quality is by far the worst available on the market.
That comment reminded me of what Louis CK says about wifi on the plane — or attitude towards technology in general. I won’t link because the swear ratio is… well he uses all the possible syntactical options of the f-bomb.
The quality difference is striking, and Skype pales in comparison. But live video feed between common computers is something that, no matter the quality of the feed, should still be seen as the miracle that it is, and somehow only seem so to too few users. Doing that with limited central server is even more impressive. It might not be enough to gather facial expression, and that is a real problem for their offer. But what they do remains the result of ten years of high level engineering, with broad room for progress in many circumstances.
The same can happen with video. A low quality video connection is a mere novelty, doing little to improve the conversation. A high quality video connection, though, can dramatically improve the conversation. For example, you can watch the expression in your partner's face to see when they are confused, or disagree, or you need to slow down or go faster, and if your points are resonating and connecting.
The Louis CK principle does apply, yes, its amazing. But just as video opens doors not available to audio calls, high quality video calls open many doors that low quality video calls do not.
If the connection is just too poor for whatever reason, it's acceptable, however, when facetime works so well while we are connected to the same wifis, the problem is in Skype.
P2P infrastructure isn't realistic when most of your clients are on mobile. Skype used to drain your battery simply by logging in for an hour. Now it doesn't!
Skype and G+ use the same codec families as well, so the differences would be in bandwidth allocation.
The battery drain could be from anything. I'm not sure if they use GCM (Google Cloud Messaging) to reduce battery these days but without looking at the code I don't think you could say switching to a centralised server model fixed the battery issues.
I've used many video conferencing solutions but I have the impression that Skype is going to be the most convenient (largely because we're already using Skype as a team). Sqwiggle is pretty neat as well (Edit: I had to mention that, AFAIK Sqwiggle doesn't support group video conferencing).
That's what I like with Sqwiggle (or similar tools). It's the ease of connecting with a team member using video. (I'm just noticing something: I forgot to mention that AFAIK Sqwiggle doesn't support group conferencing.). Your connection/team member is a click away and you know if they're at their desk thanks to the snapshots.
Unfortunately the way it reacts to changes in bandwidth isn't up to hangouts or skype. We've got one team member working out in the sticks and it just drops out when his bandwidth gets choked. Hangouts on the other hand just falls back gracefully to audio only.
If we all had better connections sqwiggle would be more of a contender.
That's a difference in the audio algorithms used. Skype uses SILK while I believe that Google Hangouts uses Opus. SILK and Opus are closely related however. I would assume that Skype didn't allow all their fancy echo-cancellation tweaks to be open-sourced so it's a little better in the Skype implementation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SILK#Opus
We won't need that anymore - We were perfectly happy with Skype, but missed group video.
But, I'm genuinely curious, what nonsense does Google+ pollute your regular Google account with? I believe that you get a profile page, but you can leave it entirely blank.
As someone who has a personal G+ account and doesn't mind, and who runs a company that pays Google for apps for my domain on which we manage our email, I still had to register for G+ to be able to use the hangouts product in invitations and threads I'm having with my work email. Now that I've done so (without adding a profile photo or anything else), i'm getting tons of people adding me to circles, etc., which I don't want. It's essentially forcing a social-connection construct on a relationship with an empty profile that I don't want to create or have to maintain.
I've never even tried Hangouts because of the G+ requirement. I suppose if I had to, I'd create a one-off account for the purpose.
If it were Gmail, that would be really useful. But it's not. It's "Bobby Noname added you to a circle!" and "Joe I'veNeverHeardOf invited you to a hangout!" and "Spammy McSpammer liked a your video on YouTube!"
I don't need or want any of that nonsense. G+ isn't useful to me, but I don't have any way of turning off the notifications.
Oh, and as a bonus, the G+ API isn't working. Doubly annoying. http://shkspr.mobi/blog/2014/04/extracting-your-own-location...
I am fine using Skype with one particular ID because I am not using that ID on any other system. And that is how I prefer to use Internet everywhere, which I am sure many do as well.
I stopped using YouTube for commenting because of this reason exactly.
About the spying, I feel sorry for any poor sucker watching my life! :¬D All that effort for such little excitement.
My attempts at humouring others escapes me once again... a well.