Well, I must tell you I truly wanted to title this blog – Screw You Skype – but I held off.
My accountability partner, and one of my team members said I could NOT send an email newsletter or post a blog with a subject line of Screw You Skype. So I am not. (Yeah, that was sad, but I got it off my chest!)
After another week of trying to do team meetings and the occasional check in chat on Skype, I finally had it. When something so reliable that you have used for so many years, stops being reliable and becomes a source of nothing but frustration, and a waste of time, oftentimes we will declare war and find an alternative and that is what I have done. Declared war on Skype.
But I did find an alternative, read on to learn what this surprising option is.
Now, before I get into this, you need to know, I have been a loyal Skype user over the years, but honestly, in the past year things have really changed.
Some folks say it was after they were bought out by Microsoft, but that was in 2011 so I don’t feel that is the issue – the ‘new version’ is more of the issue for me. That’s when things started changing, and by changing, I mean not working reliably.
Skype can offer its customers many different features, Instant Messaging, Video Calls, sharing screens, sending files and even dedicated phone numbers for calling. It is also a great way for people to connect internationally at a low cost or no fee at all..
I primarily used Skype for Instant Messaging and Voice Calls with my team of Virtual Assistants. It is a great way to ask a quick question and get an answer… as long as the system works well and is reliable.
For the last 6 months all the skype calls have been a struggle – a huge struggle. Messages did not go through or the ping that the new message is there happens a day later, if at all. Trying to make a call and then the other person cannot answer. Hanging up and then try again, and the same issue happens. It was horrible.
This past week, I finally had the “straw that broke the camel’s back” moment that was IT for me. I AM NOW DONE and GONE. And as soon as I message people that I regularly skype with and let them know I am uninstalling this abomination of technology, I will be uninstalling it from my computers, and phone forever. And it will take a lot to ever get me back.
Not only has it frustrated me, more importantly it has wasted my time, a lot of time and I cannot deal with it any longer.
This week when I was sending a message- or trying to – all I got was an error message and then a note that the messages were not sent. I tried over and over, tried calling, and nothing. I only got the message through by using my cell to text that person instead.
I waited til the next day and tried again. The same crap kept happening. And that was my moment. I was done. Skype was dead to me.
I had been researching other options and came up with a surprising one… Google Hangouts.
Yes, I bet you are as surprised as me, ‘eh? Google Hangouts has been around for years, I used to use it with a few select people, but back then not everyone was using Google enough to have an account. And frankly, it was not very robust back then.
But what a surprise I got when I started checking it out again. Not only does it have a lot of new features and options, that actually can compete well with Skype, it has this cool new app/extension you can use, that makes it almost seem like Skype, but it actually works!
I have been doing some research on other options and most that keep coming up are paid options, which frankly, this is something I do not want to pay for. And some of these options, like Slack, are too busy on their interface that they make my mind swirl, so they are out.
This week as I did more in-depth research, I kept coming across Google Hangouts as an option. So, I tried it. At first, it was so-so, then I tried the Chrome Extension (Like an App). Oh Man!
Life changed the minute I added that to my browser and clicked the little button that popped it out of my Gmail window and into its own – it was just like Skype!!! But even better!
How was it better??
It worked for starters! I pinged Patty- my good friend and team member – and it pinged her right away – when she messaged me back it made a sound and let me know. Life was back to normal. Hallelujah!
(This picture shows what the Hangout App window looks like on a PC – really very similar to Skype)
I instantly was happy again and after a little more testing decided it would work! I sent the entire team a message that “Skype was Dead to Me” and that we could replace it with Google’s Hangouts. Funny thing was, several team members were just as happy. Reliability of a Tool that you use daily can be something that just takes up too much time to figure out the issues, and as I like to say “Too much Brain Space” to deal with.
So, the entire Pepper Team is now hanging out on Google and I am happy and over the top giddy about my plan to uninstall Skype next week.
Now, if you have had any issues on Skype lately, here is some info about Hangouts as an option for you:
Google Hangouts is a communication platform created by Google and it includes instant messaging (IM), video chat, text and VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol – which means a phone line on the internet) features. It is a combination of three products that Google had implemented before, and in its aim to get people using their inventions – as they do not always take hold like they want to happen- Google mixed them together. Google is hoping that Hangouts will become “the future” of its telephony product, Google Voice, and integrated some of the features of Google Voice into Hangouts.
To get started on Google Hangouts, you can connect via any other Google tool or account / login you use for other Google products, Gmail, Google Drive, YouTube and even G Suite…
You can open your account on Google Hangouts, visit https://hangouts.google.com/ and connect your account, if you already have another Google account or signup if you do not.
Then, I highly, highly, recommend adding the Chrome extension or Firefox one, to your computer or use their App on a mobile device, to allow Google Hangouts to function more as a stand alone program. And yes, they have ones for Safari and Internet Explorer as well.
If you have been having Skype issues, then you may want to consider Google Hangouts as an option. It’s been working well for me!
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