It would appear that Google Hangouts have been successful in giving Skype a tough time. The Microsoft team has responded by making the previously paid Skype group video chats free now for desktop and Xbox One users.
Google Hangouts has emerged as a major online solution for video chats, especially the conference calls. The best part is that the conference calls are free for the most part. Until recently, Skype offered similar multi-person video chats but they fell under premium subscription plans for desktop and Xbox One users.
But Microsoft has finally changed that policy and these group video chats are now free on desktop and Xbox One. The free group video calls are also available to Skype’s Mac users now and Microsoft plans to roll out the free feature to a number of other platforms in the future.
According to the official announcement from Skype, “For the last few years, we’ve offered group video calling to Premium users on Windows desktop and Mac and more recently Xbox One. Today, we’re excited to announce that we’re making group video calling free – for all users on these platforms. And, in the future, we’ll be enabling group video calling for all our users across more platforms – at no cost.”
This decision from Skype is very significant. Not only does it make things more convenient for Skype users, it is also a subtle hint that Skype is finally forced to cope with the competition from the likes of Google Hangouts. With the integration of Google Hangouts with Gmail and other Google services at one hand, and that of Skype’s with Microsoft platforms and services with the other, it would be interesting to see how this contest plays out in the coming days.