Skype vs Zoom: video chat apps to work and stay in touch, compared


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the coronavirus pandemic has led to quarantine, foreclosure and site placement orders – which means that many people now work from home and only see their friends, family and colleagues video chat apps and services.

While there are many options to choose from, Skype and Zoom are two of the heavy hitters. Here’s how the two video chat and conference apps compare – especially in light of Recent security and privacy concerns at Zoom.

Read more: Zoom, Skype, FaceTime: 11 tips for your video chat applications

Angela Lang / CNET

Microsoft Skype is a telecommunications application that works for video chats, calls and instant messaging. The app is compatible with Android and iOS, Windows, iPadOS, web browser, Alexa and Xbox. Skype offers multiple subscription plans if you want to call someone’s cell phone or landline; otherwise, it is free to use.

Skype can also manage up to 50 people in a single video call, which can be useful for business meetings. The app allows you to record calls in case someone misses a meeting. Legends and subtitles are also available for accessibility. Skype has file sharing capabilities, caller ID, voicemail, a split view to separate conversations and screen sharing on mobile.

After creating an account, you can start chatting. If you are organizing a call, simply open your profile and click on New Chat. Choose New Group Chat, New Chat, or New Private Chat. Whichever option you choose, you will need to enter the name of the group member in the search to find or add them. When you open a chat with another user, you can keep it as an instant messenger with the ability to share files and more, start a video call, or create a group.

You can schedule calls in the app and be alerted via a mobile or desktop computer by activating notifications of scheduled calls.

Skype also recently added a feature called Meet Now that lets you create and share a meeting with a link, with no account required to use the service on Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome browsers.

Read more: 10 free alternative Zoom apps for video chats

Sarah Tew / CNET

The Zoom video conferencing app works for Android, iOS, PC and Mac. The app offers a basic free plan that accommodates up to 100 participants. There are also options for small and medium businesses ($ 15 to $ 20 per month per host) and large businesses for $ 20 per month per host with a minimum of 50 hosts. You can adjust meeting times and select multiple hosts. Up to 1,000 users can participate in a single Zoom video call, and 49 videos can appear on the screen simultaneously.

The app has HD video and audio capabilities, collaboration tools like simultaneous screen sharing and co-annotation, and the ability to record meetings and generate transcripts. Outlook, Gmail, and iCal support scheduling and starting meetings. In Gmail, for example, just click the calendar icon, then your meeting time, then the link under Join Zoom meeting. If the host has programmed it, there may also be call options.

Read more: 13 Tips, Tricks and Hidden Features for Zoom Video Chat

If your microphone and camera are off, Zoom can communicate via chat (the interface looks a bit like Slack). This feature can also be useful if it is a massive bare hands meeting and the opportunity to ask questions is available.

Signing up for Zoom is free – you can either manually create an account with an email, or sign in with Google or Facebook.

If you are using Zoom, it is important to consider the security concerns that have arisen since its rapid rise in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic. Privacy experts have raised concerns about privacy risks and video conferencing software hacking vulnerabilities, as well as Zoombombing (where uninvited attendees enter and disrupt meetings). The New York City Department of Education recently told teachers to stop using Zoom in favor of Microsoft Teams while the company tackles security threats.

However, if you are still using the platform, there are steps you can take to protect your meetings, such as using one ID per meeting and turning on the “Waiting Room” feature so you can see who tries to join a meeting before allowing access.

Read more: COVID-19: Everything you need to know to stay healthy and have fun while staying at home

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Ideal for small group video chats


Ideal for larger group video chats (if you take appropriate security precautions)


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