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Founded in 2003, Skype has been the go-to conference call software for work-from-home professionals for over a decade. With more than 300 million estimated active monthly users, Skype is easily the most popular professional solution for voice and video calling. But that doesn't necessarily mean it’s the best video conferencing software for everyone.
In this blog, we’ll break down five of our favorite alternatives to Skype to help you find the perfect online meeting software to suit your needs. Whether you’re looking for a professional platform to communicate with your coworkers, or a simple video calling app to chat with friends and family, we’ve got you covered.
Founded by a former Cisco and WebEx engineer in 2011, Zoom has quickly saturated the conference call software market with dedicated Zoom meeting spaces called “Zoom Rooms” popping up all around the world. Much like Skype, Zoom features desktop and mobile apps for instant messaging between contacts. However, for voice and video calls, users are given a custom meeting URL, which means guests can join online without having to create an account or download a new app.
With a free Zoom Basic account, users can host unlimited one-to-one meetings or group meetings with up to 100 participants—however, group meetings are capped at 40 minutes. For unlimited meetings, Zoom also offers Pro, Business and Enterprise plans with additional features.
You may have heard of UberConference back in 2014 when they gained viral attention for their hold music—a witty tune called "I'm On Hold" by Alex Cornell about waiting on hold for a conference call to start. In addition to having awesome hold music, UberConference also has a ton of useful features for online meetings.
Unlike Skype and some of the other videoconferencing software on this list, UberConference does not offer a desktop app, which means there’s no chat option outside of conference calls. Instead, users are given a custom URL and guests are required to sign in using a PIN number. With the free plan, users can host calls with up to 10 participants with a max call time of 45 minutes. With a business plan, users can create a custom call-in number that does not require a PIN, and are able to make international calls with up to 100 participants.
UberConference also offers free recordings for audio and HD video calls, making it an excellent choice for interviews, seminars, training sessions and more.
Originally a feature of the now-defunct social networking site Google+, Hangouts was made a standalone product in 2013 and quickly became a strong contender for the best Skype alternative.
Easily accessible for anyone with a Google account, Google Hangouts offers voice and video calls, instant messaging and screen sharing right from your Gmail inbox. Users can also access the service using dedicated browser extensions or mobile apps. And if you have a free Google Voice number, you can use Google Hangouts to receive or make phone calls and text messages to any number in the U.S. or Canada.
Google Hangouts Features
Originally launched in 2009, WhatsApp was purchased by Facebook for $19 billion in 2014, in what was the largest acquisition of a venture-backed company in history at the time—so that should tell you something about how popular WhatsApp is.
With options for desktop and mobile apps as well as a web-based platform, WhatsApp makes it easy to stay connected wherever you go. Effortlessly send instant messages, make voice calls or even set up videoconferences with up to four people from any device.
And for those who run customer-based businesses, WhatsApp also offers WhatsApp Business, a free-to-download app that lets you interact with customers using tools to automate, sort and quickly respond to messages.
Formerly known as Appear.In, Whereby is a browser-based conference call software designed for freelance professionals and small business owners. Ideal for video conferencing, Whereby offers an array of flexible online meeting tools like one-click scheduling and custom branding options.
Accessible via web and mobile apps, Whereby provides users with a custom URL for hosting conference calls with up to four people at a time for free. Pro and Business plans offer more meeting rooms, more participants and recording options.
Try out these alternatives to Skype and let us know which is your favorite for conference calls, online meetings and video conferencing. For even more tips on how to improve your conference calls, check out our blog on How to Make Professional Sounding Conference Calls From Home.