When thinking about a video chat program, the first name that comes to mind is undoubtedly Skype. This service, born in 2003, is the most widely used application for videoconferencing on the Internet. Regardless of the device used, whether it is a desktop computer, a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone, or where the user is, this video call application allows contact with other users. To make video calls you only need a terminal with a camera and a microphone, free Skype software and an Internet connection.
However, there are other free applications for IP telephony (also called Voice over IP or VoIP), which also allow video transmission between parties. Most of these alternatives to Skype are available for free and some even stand out for their benefits and data protection measures, unknown in the case of the veteran application. With this information, it is not surprising that users begin to outnumber mobile telephony. Now what are the alternatives to Skype that are really worth it? Read below the strengths and weaknesses of both Skype and the alternative video call applications that we have selected for you.
As is known, Skype is more than a free IP telephony program; In addition to the possibility of seeing the interlocutors through video broadcasting, the application stands out for a function for conferencing that supports up to 50 Skype accounts participating at the same time.
Skype also has an instant messaging service for the exchange of messages and files that allows you to edit the messages sent or delete them. The screen sharing function allows other users of the application to access the contents of the screen of those with whom they are communicating. With this screen transmission method, you can share images, documents, or presentations with other users. There are Skype client programs for many operating systems (macOS, Windows, Linux) and mobile platforms (iOS, Android, Windows Mobile), although it can also be used as a web application or web app in the browser (Skype for Web).
All the mentioned functions are free, although the parties need to have a Skype account to establish contact. To talk to people who do not yet have a Skype account, since Skype is connected to both the landline and land mobile networks, calls and SMS are paid, usually at a cheaper price, with a purchased credit in advance.
With Microsoft Teams, companies have at their disposal a non-free variant of the application. This has the advantage of
integrating Microsoft 365 and better protect the content of conversations. Data protection in the free version, on the other hand, has often been called into question. Along with the mentioned strengths, the lack of security of user data constitutes the biggest weakness of the free version of Skype, as can be deduced from the list of pros and cons:
free Skype alternatives
First of all, it should be said that many video chat programs raise the same controversies in terms of data protection as Skype, although there are some providers in this sector that are increasingly focused on ensuring the security of communication content. Some services have specialized on their own initiative in the aspect of data protection, while others are increasingly forced, due to growing criticism and public pressure, to create more customer-oriented and user-friendly privacy policies. encryption techniques.
Leaving aside the data protection debate, there are numerous quality alternatives to Skype that stand out for their original and practical features. Let’s see what are the strengths and weaknesses of these programs to make video calls.
Already in advance a new chat tool, Spike captivates especially in the professional sector by helping to make communication in teams, both between its members and external partners, more efficient. To achieve this, among other innovations, developers have revolutionized the visual presentation of email exchange; Incoming and outgoing emails are displayed in the chat format known to us from messaging applications. But this competent collaborative solution also integrates VoIP, making it an alternative to Skype with which to make voice or video calls.
If you are looking for a closer and more direct collaboration with coworkers, Spike’s proposal to convert email into chat messages is a great help, because this way the program leaves out what does not count as content per se. and concentrates on what’s important. But the application further improves cooperation within teams with other options, such as sending files, encrypting messages from the app and managing a centralized calendar.
Spike can be used on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android systems, or also in the browser, free of charge for individuals and in subscription mode per account for professional teams. The good news is that it is not necessary to create a user account, since the application uses the email account that the user already owns.
ICQ was born in 1996 as a mere instant messaging service that became very popular in the 1990s, but which today has seen its number of users drastically reduce. For this reason, ICQ has been developed to become a versatile application with which you can also make video calls, although this function is only available for two user profiles. However, since mid-2016 the platform offers a special feature: the default end-to-end encryption for video chats for Windows, Android, and iOS.
For the rest, this video call application has many similarities with Skype, such as the rate to make calls to mobiles and landlines. Text messaging has not been altered by implementations and continues to perform as it did in the beginning. In general, the functionality of ICQ is quite large. In the past, the application became one of the market leaders as a chat program, but it cannot be said that this will be repeated since the competition already has a great advantage in terms of number of users.
Viber’s features are also very similar to Skype’s .The programMasterfully manages both VoIP telephony with or without image transfer, as well as instant messaging and file transfer. It also allows the realization of the classic calls of payment, but in the videoconferences, only two users can participate. Another of its features is that the service is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS clients.
However, Viber did speak because of the unusual collection of a large number of user data, thus contravening European legislation on data protection. Viber even saved the data of people who were not registered in it. Since 2016, the application includes (apart from calls to landlines and mobiles) end-to-end encryption, whose objective is to guarantee the security of content. Altogether, Viber can be conceived as a highly functional application that, compared to other alternatives to Skype, has a smaller number of users and raises certain doubts regarding data protection.