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Skype Video Group Calling Now FREE for Everyone

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Skype has announced that group video calling will now be completely free of charge.

This feature, which allows up to 10 people to participate in video calling, is free for Windows, Mac and Xbox One beginning today.

Mobile and other platforms will get the feature soon.

For current premium users, you will no longer be charged for this feature.

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  • +27

    While this new "freebie" is great, but is it a little bit too late? It would have killed Google Hangout if Skype didn't start charging Group Calling back in 2011, but now Hangout is what I use for group video chat/conference.

    • +1

      Yeh, and they're really pushing Hangout via Android as well. SMS, voice, video chat - it's got everything..

      • Yes. While Skype has Android client as well (and the latest ones are actually pretty decent), Group calling is not possible. In fact there's no video group call for iOS and Linux desktop client either, whereas Hangout works wherever Chrome works.

        Skype video group call works well with Xbox One though — that's one platform Chrome will not be able to run.

        • From a Skype blog:

          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.

          Here's waiting :)

        • +7

          No need to wait, Hangouts is already available :D

        • +5

          No need to wait, Hangouts is already available

          A lot of older, less tech savvy people that are already using Skype are less likely to make the change though…

        • +1

          They need an ambassador like you, jv, to help them make the switch.

        • +3

          What have the older, less tech savvy people done to anger you in life so badly that you'd submit them to jv?

        • +1

          A lot of older, less tech savvy people that are already using Skype are less likely to make the change though…

          Considering the amount of people (even the older, less tech savvy ones) that already have smart phones and Google accounts, it's not a huge leap at all.

        • They may have the accounts and phones, but do they know how to use them?

    • Yes, but video quality with Skype can be significantly better than Hangouts (I think because it's P2P, whereas Hangouts always goes through Google). So it's still a good thing, I think.

      • +13

        I think because it's P2P

        Not since mid-2012, for easier surveillance scalability reason.

        • +2

          Cool, I didn't know.
          Not sure why we are getting higher quality video with Skype compared to Hangouts though. Way better. Maybe the Hangouts video received is based on an NSA screen capture.

  • +5

    Good job, Satya Nadella

  • I don't get it, I've been doing group chats for ages along with conference calls and don't have a paid version?

    edit - The above is referring to Skype.

    • +2

      group video is never free… until now. group chat etc is different.

      • I'm sure there was a similar announcement, re free group calling, with video, maybe up to 5 per group) sometimes last year.

        I no longer use Skype, though.

        "Zello is the new Skype" (but voice only)

        We like Zello: up to 99 concurrent users per Zello-channel, each enjoying great audio.

        Profiles have easy-change photo's & text portions, & channels can have owner-appointed moderators or be listen-only broadcast channels (eg, for sharing your local radio, scanner, etc. audio…)

        Use Zello to do remote-access meetings, debates, roundtables.

        Link channels to 2-way radio (transmit via VOX, maybe with set time-out timer). I think Zello's business is based on serving
        2-way radio users, like courier drivers, etc.

  • Yeah, its a bit too late now.
    Also the Andriod client for skype has lots of issues. I could never logout of my Skype in Android.

    • Skype on Android is quite horrible. Even worse, using Skype on W8.1 shudders.

      • You can get the skype for windows 8/8.1 desktop, you know. As long as you're not using it on a tablet (with no desktop). It functions exactly like skype for win7/etc.

        • I did end up doing that which went fine. It was the W8.1 app which had issues. Then it kept ringing as I answered the desktop version. Simply uninstalled the app and all happy now with just the desktop Skype.

        • Yeah, it's more of a Windows problem than Skype, even though both are Microsoft :P It's just there is no way to make a good Windows 8.1 application by the sheer nature of it.

      • yeah, I recently installed it on my SGS2, took me a few days to realise that was why my battery was flat every day at ~5pm. Now uninstalled.

        Even on windows its difficult to log out.

      • Logging into another skype account on Win8 is damn near impossible. I keep two accounts, one for work, one personal, but to change which account you are logged into you need to sign in to the skype website, go into your account settings, disconnect your skype and your microsoft account, then when you log back into skype hope that it has forgotten your settings and hasn't automatically just re-set-up the connection you just disconnected…. GRHHHHH…

        It is enough to drive you mad.

        • I have installed Skype separately on Windows 8. That is to say, I don't use the one that comes as an "app" (I only noticed the "app" after I installed it as a program). They appear to be quite independent, because the "app" one does not use the account I use in my installed one. Maybe you can try the same: use the "app" for one account, and an installed one (program) for another account.

        • Actually it's quite easy. Create a shortcut to the the skype application, but call skype using skype.exe /secondary

          So you'll end with two way to run skype. Regular shortcut that runs skype and secondary that runs skype /secondary.

          Now you log to personal and work accounts at the same time.

          More info google: skype /secondary

        • That must be how some the Asian call-centre chicks used to show up on Skype for nice social purposes, from work.

    • Usually i just do options and then sign out. I see no issues in skype for android.

    • To quit Skype, use Android's app manager.

      Inconvenient, but effective.


      PS Speaking of Android, is there a simple non server-dependent, direict WiFi-based comma app, that doesn't require rooting the device…???

  • -3

    Looks positively welcome, however I think I might postdate my applause for the first to Sport inter-client group video conversing; add X-platform, and a neutral framework.

    Skype video group call Apple to Hangout Kitkat Android mobile

    indeed To0 date, Google has seemed the champ to this 'aspiration.'

    • +1

      Unfortunately the platform-agnostic vision deteriorates as soon as you start requesting money… Why would Skype/MS allow Google to mingle with it's users when they might shop them out?

  • -1

    Yaaaay…Time to make Skype crappier than it already is with connections since MS bought it :/

  • +2

    too little, too late

  • +2

    thanks OP, this is excellent!

  • +1

    Nice- thanks TA :-)

  • +1

    oath

  • Nice one

  • +1

    After recently paying for premium on 3 family phones just recently, specifically for this, I'm sure glad I at least hadn't paid full price for the skype credit.

  • +3

    under the pressure of Google Hangout and various what's app and clones

    • Agree. +The moneyed interests in such were strong /

      but best luck, Telco-Micro soft ..t-horse has-bolted;)

  • Skype has done such a bad job in terms of transparency, product consistency and customer service , the worst I've seen

    • Doesn't China's gov't have more access to Skype calls ( monitoring cap's)?

      Is QQ compatible with Skype? (I've heard that Skype is unlawful in China… true?)

  • I have to vent my spleen. I've never seen such horrible software and pathetic customer service.

    I bought the Galaxy Note 8.0 from another deal, installed lastest version Skype from Google Play, only to find out Skype failed on the basic functionality — voice call. Although it connects, neither parties can hear the other side, not even with the test call service. A quick search on offical Skype community tells me the issue existed at least from Oct 2013, which means there has been no fix at all for the whole 6 months.

    Not to mention there are other annoying changes such as unable to delete history, unable to log out and exit, etc.

    Skype has always been a p in the a. I remember for an old version, after I removed the app I cannot reintall it any more. I had to root the phone, rm certains remaining Skype files from the system directory before reinstall Skype. I just cannot comprehend their stupidity.

    Are there better replacements other than Google stuff? Viber?

    • We like Zello, for voice only conference calls, up to 99 per channel.

      ("Zello PTT Walkie Talkie" in Google Play.)

      Details at Zello.com

    • "Feb 16, 2014 - Cyprus-based call and messaging app provider, Viber Media Inc. has been acquired by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten Inc. for $900m"

      I hope the new owners don't spoil it…

  • But lately Skype keeps having problem to show people online correctly.

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