At one point, video calls weren’t a part of everyday human imagination. We used to see video conferencing only in sci-fi movies, and it became a part of everyday reality after Skype came into the scene. As people saw a surge in technology since the start of this millennium, we have embraced the rise of new machines, innovations, and inventions. Skype, no doubt, has changed the very way we used to perceive human interactions. Moreover, it has come a long way in pushing the variety of Skype alternatives that have flooded the market today.
But why do we need to have these alternatives and not do with one video calling software? Well, before understanding the need to look for Skype alternatives, we must also be aware of all that this video-calling application has to offer. It is not just being the first of its kind that has laid the scene for Skype to dominate the video calling market. Their constant push for innovation and facilitation of smooth user experience has led them to come up with ingenious ideas of human interaction. For instance, they were the first ones to come up with the idea of video conferencing, allowing the inclusion of up to 25 users in a group call.
After including this facility, Skype also improved its instant messaging service. It included the ability to send and receive audio and video files. Moreover, with the screen sharing facility, Skype became a major tool for doing serious work and not simple video conferencing. What’s more, Skype is cross-platform and supports Windows, Mac, and Linux systems alike.
- 1 But what went wrong and why are we looking for alternatives?
- 2 Top 10 Skype Alternatives for PC
- 2.1 1. Spike
- 2.2 2. Tox
- 2.3 3. Jitsi
- 2.4 4. Facebook Messenger
- 2.5 5. Whatsapp Messenger
- 2.6 6. Google Duo
- 2.7 7. Wire
- 2.8 8. WeChat
- 2.9 9. Line
- 2.10 10. Facetime
- 2.11 30 Free Software like Skype for Video Calling
- 2.12 EndNote
But what went wrong and why are we looking for alternatives?
Everything was fine until people came to know of some serious threats that affected their privacy. In 2014, Edward Snowden leaked the news that NIA could directly intercept any video call and listen to private conversations across the world. They took advantage of their liaison with Microsoft and allegedly used to spy on every person using this video calling software. This problem of lack of security was compounded by the weak privacy laws. Skype conversations are always encrypted by the AES-256 encryption method. And TLS protocol protects their text messages. The problem is that the company may hand over the recorded conversations to any authority.
In other words, Microsoft hailed itself as the gatekeeper of the privacy of its patrons. All these reasons combined, people were wary of this otherwise wonderful video calling app. They started looking for alternatives that would prioritize users’ privacy the most. But they’d also include the sophisticated features that Skype has.
Top 10 Skype Alternatives for PC
So, here we are with some of the best Skype alternatives currently on the market. Using these you won’t have to worry about your privacy anymore. We have provided brief reviews of all the apps, including what’s good about them, and what’s not-so-good about them. Check them out and decide which one suits you the best.
This software is one of the best Skype alternatives for professionals. Spike has completely evolved the email viewing process and has also improved the video calling. In other words, if anyone has pushed its way for faster peer-to-peer communication, it is Spike. To achieve this, it has carefully re-designed the process emails are viewed. With Spike, emails come in the form of chats where it simply shows the body of the mail and does not show the rest in that view. Encouraging mighty collaboration between colleagues, Spike supports faster communication with its file-sharing facility, both video, and audio.
Moreover, coming to its calling facilities, Spike offers both voice and video calling over IP, and also makes way for conference calls. All of this combined makes this video calling platform a wonderful Skype alternative, with some added features such as maintaining planners, calendars, as well as the ability to encrypt messages. The software runs on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, and can run independently on a web browser as well. However, the professional version needs to be availed by a minimum fee, but like Skype, the basic version is available for free. Another good news about this app is it gets integrated with the email account that you use during registration, and no second account is created. So, this is actually good news for those who don’t want the hassle of handling too many accounts at once.
Finally, with many customized notifications and encrypted email messaging, Spike is really a great Skype alternative to look for, with great focus on the strict privacy of its patrons. With all these features at hand, work collaboration and organization isn’t just easy, it is also fun.
- Spike uses already existing email ID
- Cross-platform software
- Runs independently on browsers
- Offers video encrypting facility
- Like Skype, you can send voice messages and files
- Encryption is not available for voice calls
After one of the most dangerous call and voicemail hacking scandals of 2013 in the UK, Tox came out as an antidote to such conspiracies. It was developed by an anonymous programmer, which promised to look after the privacy issue which had become an increasing concern among users of all kinds and classes. Tox can be defined as a perfect Skype alternative that works like Whatsapp, in the sense that both supports end-to-end encryption. To put it simply, no one can intercept or access the contents of your conversation in any way, and that includes the producers of the application too. But how can one actually believe this when this claim has been made by every other company?
Well, to ensure privacy, Tox allows your IP address to be visible only to the receiving party of your conversation and to no one else. Moreover, the data is completely secured by peer-to-peer transmission technology, unlike Skype whose communication comes through a central server.
Tox promises on its USP and delivers on it the most efficiently which is evident from the fact that it does not collect user data. This factor even trumps Whatsapp because the latter is known to collect user information, whereas all informational exchange in Tox takes place strictly among the machines involved.
Coming to the basics, Tox allows voice calls, video calls, file sharing, and instant messaging. Needless to say, all of these features come with complete security of privacy. The only factor where this amazing software falls short is video calls are limited to two users only, as the software is still in the nascent developmental stage, and not commercialized. Finally, this software runs on all the available platforms, namely, Mac, Windows, Android, and Linux. Whenever you sign up, you will be granted a unique Tox ID. If security is your biggest concern, we would suggest you hook to this software.
- Screen sharing feature
- Extensive security in the form of peer to peer communication
- End-to-end encryption
- Few users because still in the beta stage
If tech giants worry you all the time, and you don’t believe any of their promises anymore, perhaps it is time you tried out Jitsi. The world is slowly moving towards open-source programs, and Jitsi proudly includes itself to the list. For those who aren’t aware, open-source programs are free from the Intellectual Property Rights and do not have any owners per se. So, if you are a programmer, you have all the right to tweak and customize the program from your end without any hindrance to random issues and notices from the governments.
Jitsi is another software that has geared up the quotient of security and all calls (voice and video) are completely encrypted. No unauthorized user can ever intercept these calls, and to compound on the security issue, users have the option to switch on encryption right after they start a call. This open-source program is one of the best Skype alternatives because it has everything that Skype does but without getting you involved with any of the tech giants. Jitsi has video/voice call facility, video conferencing, and file sharing features.
Not to mention, instant messaging also works great on this software. And to make video chatting even more fun, there are a lot of filters and integrated chat that you can use.
To add to all these unique features, Jitsi has no such bar in the number of people you can add to the video conferencing room. What’s more, you don’t need to open an account to use the chatroom. You can use the browser variant of this software called Jitsi Meet. Here you can randomly open up a conversation and with your unique chat link keep on adding people to the video conference. The software runs on all platforms, and clients are available for Android and iOS platforms. If these clients don’t run on your device, you always have Jitsi Meet.
- The web application can be used without signing up for an account
- No limit to the number of users in a video conference
- Extensive user security in the form of encryption
- Dull user interface
4. Facebook Messenger
Not everyone is wary of tech giants and would do with a simple video-chatting app that is very easy to use. This is the market Mark Zuckerberg has captured with its all-encompassing Facebook app. Facebook has been ever-growing and has become one of the biggest competitors, and also acts as a wonderful Skype alternative. Sure, it shares the same reputation about encryption and security as Skype does, but it also allows you to include a massive number of people in video conferencing, the main reason behind including it in this list.
It is strange that despite such fame of Facebook as a social media app, very few explore its separate messaging app known simply as Facebook messenger. One is always prompted to download this app whenever they download Facebook on their phones, yet people do not realize the potential of Messenger. With this app, you can connect up to 50 people at a time and that is massive. What’s more, the app automatically adjusts the video quality suiting your internet connection and makes way for an uninterrupted calling facility. And Messenger is supported on all the platforms be it Android, Windows, Linux, Mac or iOS devices. It is one of the most flexible video-calling apps that you will find which is also very lightweight.
- Contacts are automatically synced from Facebook, so no need to find users
- You can connect to up to 50 people with this app
- Cross-platform application
- End-to-end encryption not guaranteed
5. Whatsapp Messenger
Whatsapp started as a simple messenger service on Android. But since February 2014, after Facebook took over the app, it has emerged as one of the most simple Skype alternatives. Whatsapp has gained so much fame in the past few years, that most of the revenue of Zuckerberg comes from this chatting app. So, they have invested heartily in this application and have also worked a great deal to ensure the privacy of the users. Whatsapp has not only evolved the instant messaging service but has normalized the idea of sharing files casually, and is one of the most efficient semi-professional apps you will find on the market.
Whatsapp had been slow to introduce the video calling mechanism in the app, but when it did, most users completely switched to this software. This happened primarily because the whole world had already switched over to Whatsapp by then and very few wanted to hit up another application just for the purpose of video calling. This is how it came to belong to the list of the top Skype alternatives, although Whatsapp needs to work a bit more in the video conferencing field. While you can chat with up to 256 people simultaneously in a group, the video conferencing facility is limited to only 4 people.
However, the major advantages of this app include high user volume, detailed last seen information, good video streaming quality, and end-to-end encryption. All of this combined it trumps Skype and with its recent desktop versions, the complaint that Whatsapp is not platform-flexible has been dished out of the window by the developers. Overall, this is a really nice Skype alternative for those who are looking for simple video-conferencing, instant chatting, and a lot of communicative emojis.
- Heavy user volume
- End-to-end encryption is available for voice/video calls as well as chats
- Extensive and playful communication
- Does not allow more than 4 users for video conferencing
6. Google Duo
One of the mightiest competitors of Facebook on this planet is Google. They are two monopolies of information currently trying to outdo each other with their ingenious products. So, when Whatsapp started gaining popularity as one of the foremost Skype alternatives, Google introduced Duo in the market. And today it is one of the most widely used video-chat apps right after Whatsapp, Skype, and Messenger.
One of the greatest advantages that Google holds over Facebook is it has never got involved in malicious indictments such as privacy and data breach. Moreover, many users accuse Facebook of manufacturing and tailoring public opinion by selective permitting of certain posts. But Google is one of the most efficient companies that hold data privacy as their topmost priority. It is evident from the fact that Google has not reported serious data breaches in the preceding decades despite the exponential rise in the amount of user volume.
Likewise, Google Duo is one such app that is solely dedicated to video calling. Therefore, it allows up to 9 persons in the video conferencing option, which is a significant advantage over Whatsapp. Moreover, the app is extremely lightweight and provides a unique ‘Knock knock’ option that gives an overview of the live video feed and the participants in a call, so that you know who all are there before answering. Finally, this app is available not just for Android devices but also for iOS devices.
- No Google account necessary for the operation
- Easy to use
- Allows up to 9 people in video conferencing
- No option for file-sharing or messaging
- Available only on Android and iOS apps
Another application worth considering is Wire. It is rapidly gaining ground as a wonderful Skype alternative because of its instant messaging service, file sharing, voice calling facility, and ease of use. Moreover, unlike Facebook, Wire does not share the bad reputation of a data breach and keeps user security as one of the topmost priorities. You can do everything here that you could do with Skype, except you cannot add more than 4 people in a video conference. However, you can share any kind of content over its instant messaging service and that includes Youtube, Vimeo, Spotify, and Soundcloud.
The company and the software development offices of Wire are located in Germany and Switzerland. Therefore, users share the confidence of security due to their data storage facilities falling under the European Union, where data laws are more user-friendly than in any other part of the world. What’s more, apart from the free version, the company also provides professional subscriptions for businesses with an added layer of security. Wire business accounts (Wire Red) can run on users’ servers and have provisions to ensure communication even during crisis situations.
- High user security
- End-to-end encryption
- Also works on a browser apart from having an app
- Wire Red comes with added security
- Video conferencing not allowed for more than 4 users
While every other superpower had created a chat platform of its own, why should China be left alone! They introduced WeChat in the market at a time when Facebook was getting repeatedly slammed as an irresponsible tech giant in the international media. This app is a cross-platform online chatting medium that also supports a wide range of functions such as IP telephony, including both video and voice calls. Here up to 9 participants are allowed in both kinds of calls, and WeChat also allows the in-app purchase of more interactive features. From online shopping to doctors’ appointments, this social media app has a lot in its store.
However, there is a reason behind this app securing a lower position in our list of Skype alternatives. And that is privacy. In China, the internet is even more closely monitored than the other parts of the world and Facebook is blocked there. The country has its own data servers, as well as their own social media apps, of which WeChat occupies a vehement position. But a very large amount of user data is available to the service providers. Moreover, China has the weakest data privacy laws which are why people are still skeptical to use it. Yet, unlike Skype, they haven’t ever been accused of a data breach.
- Available across platforms such as Windows, Mac, Android, Linux
- A wide range of functions available
- Video conferencing allowed for up to 9 users
- Weak privacy laws
Japan introduced Line in the market at the same time Facebook bought Whatsapp. Apart from the basics, Line also comes with video chatting and voice calls as well. But the disadvantage of using this software is it does not allow video conferencing. You can share files, create timelines of photos and videos, and build a mini social network with your contacts.
And one does not need to worry about data privacy with this app since it uses end-to-end encryption.
- End-to-end encryption
- Creating a small social network circle with your contacts
- Supports Mac, iOS, Android, Windows
- No video conferencing feature
Apple’s very own Facetime is also quite a good Skype alternative. That is if you prefer to stay within the domain of Apple and iOS devices. One can add up to 32 people in a conference, and with Mac devices, one can rest assured their privacy is protected. The only disadvantage that comes with this Skype alternative is an Android user won’t be able to use this app.
Other than this, with crystal clear video and minimum distortions, this is one of the finest Skype alternatives to look for.
- Pre-installed in iOS and Mac devices
- Easy to use
- Assured security
- No instant messaging or sending files allowed
30 Free Software like Skype for Video Calling
We are sure these 10 Skype alternatives will serve your video calling needs. On the rare chance that it doesn’t, here are 20 more alternatives:
- Facebook Messenger
- Whatsapp Messenger
- Google Duo
- Google Hangouts
- Google Hangouts
- Cisco Spark
So, here we have a comprehensive collection of Skype alternatives. When looking for a video chatting app, always look for their data privacy laws as well as their call quality. These are the primary factors to cater to, and we believe we have touched these aspects well enough. Trust this list and install any one of your choices from the above. Good luck and stay connected!