Zoom is all the rage these days for video calls. And in contrast Skype is, well, old school, right?
So why would I suggest you take another look at Skype (and perhaps pass on Zoom)?
Aside from the security issues recently discovered in Zoom, I suggest two main reasons for taking a fresh look at Skype:
First, Skype recently introduced a totally new way to use Skype, one that I think changes everything: it’s called Skype Meet Now.
Second, Skype has long had a feature that I am just now beginning to appreciate: cross ecosystem texting.
Let’s start with Skype Meet Now.
Skype Meet Now
This feature has been out for a few months but is just now getting the press it deserves.
Skype Meet Now enables you to create a Skype meeting on the fly, very similar to how Zoom and Go To Meeting work, but even easier. You open it in a browser window (Edge or Chrome only), create a meeting with one click, and you are given a link you can send to anyone. Link recipients can use it whether they have a Skype app or not.
Amazingly, you don’t even need a Skype account to use it, (and again, no need to install a Skype app). And even if you do have a Skype account, you don’t have to use the (harder) tools that you normally use in the Skype app to create meetings. It really is as easy as one-click on a simple web page to create the meeting. Again, you don’t even need to log in.
It used to be hard to set up meetings in Skype, now it is super easy, easier than any of the competitors.
Cost? It’s Free
Furthermore, Skype Meet Now is free for basic usage, and the time limits on such meetings, compared to a free Zoom account, are much more generous.
Given all the security concerns in recent weeks about Zoom, I’d say the arrival of this feature from Skype is very timely.
Here are few articles about Skype Meet Now that will give you more details.
Second Reason I Have Reconsidered Skype: Cross-Ecosystem Texting
Skype has good cross-ecosystem texting that I came back to recently. But some background first.
If you own both an iPhone and an Android Phone, and you want to see and send texts from either device with the same account, it’s hard to do. Your Android phone’s SMS app won’t work with the same account on an iPhone (and visa versa), because it’s tied to the unique phone number on each phone. WhatsApp won’t work either—it too is tied to your device’s phone number.
Most other phone texting methods also prevent using both an iPhone and an Android on the same account.
This can be a problem. I don’t want my friends to be required to text to both numbers to try to reach me.
Again, what I wanted is one messaging account on both phones that will show the same messages on both phones, with one login.
And key to this is that I want to get an alert for new messages on either phone.
The alert issue is the problem with WhatsApp. While you can run WhatsApp in a web on another phone, the web version provides no lock-screen alerts on the phone, which is critical.
I could use Teams or Slacker across platforms, but that was way overkill for what I needed and more business oriented. My texting is 95% personal texting, and most of my friends don’t have or want to use either of those.
Facebook Messenger came to mind since it should work well across ecosystems and since so many people use Facebook. And it does provide alerts. But frankly, I just don’t like Facebook, so I didn’t even test it. However, for many of you, Facebook Messenger might be a good solution (let me know in comments below how it works for you across ecosystems).
Google Hangouts came to mind too. It has a similar cross ecosystem texting ability as these others. But as I studied its features, it was clear it had far fewer texting bells and whistles than Skype had. Plus, far more of my friends had Skype already installed across various platforms compared to those who had Hangouts (which was mostly Android users).
Back to Skype
So, it’s that process of elimination that led me back to Skype as my personal cross-ecosystem texting solution. Many of my friends already had it installed and knew how to use it. It has a ton of features. Also, I am using it again for video meetings (per earlier part of this article). And as an added bonus, I can use Skype desktop to text from my PC and Mac, too. And of course, all texts on all platforms get duplicated across all the Skype apps. I can pick up a conversation from any of them.
So, I’ve told my friends to expect my texts on Skype from now on, and they now know that it is what they should use to reach me. It is working well.
Now I admit, this is a really old problem with lots of old solutions. And I admit, I am late to the game, being stuck in the iOS iMessage world for so long. So, I bet you have your own preferences and apps to solve the same problem. Why don’t you describe them in the comments section below.