So you have finally ventured into the golden age of video conferencing and want to know which tool is the best. Fear not young cadets, Intentionally Digital has gone to the outer limitations of the video conferencing universe and come back with information abound! Read on to learn more about the GoToMeeting, Skype and Google Hangouts video conferencing tools.
GoToMeeting is the only tool on this list that requires a paid subscription to use the service. The setup time to use the solution only takes a couple of minutes and holds up to 25 attendees per meeting. While GoToMeeting ($49/month, $468/year) is cheaper or the same price as its paid competitors (Adobe Connect $55/month, Cisco WebEx $49/month, Fuze Meeting Pro $69/month), its simplicity comes at a cost. A PCMag review said “unlike Adobe Connect it prioritizes ease of use over capability and scalability.” Other reviews seem to agree that it is in fact easy to use but its low user limitations and functionality are best used for audio-only conferences or for those that can’t afford the Adobe Connect software.
Most people know of Skype as one of the pioneers for at-home video conferencing and feel in love with the service because they could use the free program to interact with friends and family from all over the world. For businesses, the only way to get group video out of Skype is to pay for Skype Premium ($4.99/month) where you can get up to 25 people on your call. While Skype claims to allow 25 people on the call, it is not likely that you will get more than four people on without some kind of video disruption. Use Skype for small groups and benefit from the cheap premium costs, Facebook integration and low rates on domestic and international calls but not from mass group conferences.
Although Google Hangouts and video conferencing were designed to be public, there are ways to make the video conferences private. You will, of course, need a Gmail account before being able to use the program (as will the others in the group) but the service is free and Google’s robust servers mean that you are not likely to experience interruptions. Hangouts are limited to 10 participants and no have time limits. There is also an On Air feature where you can broadcast to more people although there can only be 10 active participants.
Each of the above services has their pros and cons and caters to different companies with different needs. If you need a quick one-on-one call, Skype is probably your best bet. If you need a paid service that can boast quick meeting setup times with good audio and are not worried too much about the video quality, GoToMeeting might be a good option. If you like Google products and have no more than 10 participants in your meeting, Google Hangouts is extremely easy to use and boasts the best quality.
Extra tip: No matter what service you use, ask the participants to close the other applications they may have opened to ensure the best quality.
Thanks for reading,