Article updated May 2013
After seeing the ooVoo video when it first came out, and noticing its uncanny resemblence to Skype, I wondered what the differences were between the ooVoo vs Skype, particularly being a military wife and needing this service when my soldier travels. After taking time to play with both programs, here’s what I have to offer on the differences on the great ooVoo vs Skype debate.
Although they are both video-conferencing and messaging software products, they are, in fact, two very different animals. One difference between ooVoo and Skype is that ooVoo allows for your friends who have NOT downloaded ooVoo to still be able to talk with you from their web browser with their Web Video Calling feature. I think that’s a pretty nifty idea, especially for those who may be on the move, at a public place, friend’s computer, etc., who can’t download the program to a computer they don’t already own, or don’t want to for whatever reason.
Skype, however, has WiFi capability, allowing you to get online anywhere there’s a hotspot using Skype credits, paying only what you use.
ooVoo also has a web video chat feature which allows you to embed video onto your blog, website or social networking site. ooVoo also allows you to upload recorded videos directly to YouTube once recorded, too.
Skype can be used on a computer, tablet, or you can get Skype on your mobile phone, home phone, tablets, gaming systems, and TVs, too, so you can keep in touch with your contact list while away from your computer. For Skype on home phones, you can purchase a Skype-ready cordless phone or buy the FREETALK® Connect•Me phone adapter to use on any phone you already own. For TVs, you can purchase a Skype-ready television, use your Bluray player with a webcam, or your current TV with a TV cam. Skype-to-Skype calling is free, but you can call anywhere in the world on Skype and pay from 1.09 cents a minute (via credit or subscription). I figure, since Skype has been around longer, it’s got the edge there, with A LOT more technology available. Neat!
OoVoo is also available for your computer, mobile phone, or tablet, but, in comparing their Windows version with their Mac version, it’s indicated that not all features are available for Mac-users. “Free 12-way video chat” on Windows page as opposed to “Free group video chat” on Mac’s page, because Mac users can only see 6 people at a time while only hearing the other 6. Also, you can only send video messages with the PC version as per their plans page.) Skype, however, doesn’t offer much less for Mac users than it does with Windows-users (no emoticons, no Facebook integration without using beta version 5.4).
OoVoo allows screen-sharing with both their versions, but offers priority support, no ads, and 1000 minutes of video storage for Premium users. For Skype premium, screen-sharing, group video calls, no ads, live customer support and unlimited calls to one country of your choice are offered.
Skype also can import contacts from mail servers, your phone’s contact lists, Facebook and instant messages, as well as being able to use Skype with Facebook friends, or send IMs and text messages to contact’s cell phones. On OoVoo, to search for friends, you can sync your Facebook, Twitter, or email accounts. You can also “search on Oovoo” using the customers name or OoVoo ID.
Both services offer a text or video chats, HD video, a recording option for saving presentations or interviews, screen sharing, Facebook video, a “call me” button, upload to YouTube, and the ability to send files to other parties.
Another difference between them is calling ability and options; with ooVoo, you choose the free or premium option, and make phone calls to over 70 countries worldwide. With Skype, however, you can call anywhere in the world with pay as you go, by paying monthly, or going with Skype Premium.
Conference calling is also another big difference between the two. With ooVoo, you can call up to twelve people with the free version*, with ads displaying, or you can upgrade to their ooVoo Premium option to conference without ads. (*Mac users can only see 6 videos but can hear all call participants.) With Skype, you can contact folks one on one, up to 25 on group calls, or up to 10 on video using Skype Premium, via both Skype and landline, to conference.
Skype is also ad-free (in most countries), whereas ooVoo is only ad-free for their paid versions. Also, Skype is available for Linux, whereas ooVoo is not (only PC, Mac, Android, iPhone, and Facebook).
I also like that, when browsing online with Skype, every telephone number becomes a button you can press to dial instantly, if you subscribe to that extra service Skype offers. This allows you to use it for phoning people directly as well (currently, if you wish to use it for free, you’re just calling your contacts via Skype-to-Skype application, not their phone numbers, similar to instant messaging). Should I decide in the future to do so, that’s a pretty handy feature, to say the least.
In both cases, I see both ooVoo and Skype advocating for the use of a headset. I do not have one at the moment, but I do see how they could help, especially in business-type cases, and I will consider getting one in the future. For now my laptop’s built-in speakers and microphone will do just fine (that is, until one of my children begins to interfere with calls. Then I might decide to go with the option that allows me to actually hear my calls, and for my callers to hear me).
What do YOU think about ooVoo vs Skype? Which do you use? Do you use your webcam? Why or why not? I would LOVE to hear your thoughts and problems encountered.
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