Recently, a GeekSugar reader asked us via Twitter: "What's the difference between Skype and Google Voice?" Excellent question! I'm a fan of both services for many reasons, but mostly because they provide an easy and inexpensive way to communicate with those around you — by talking! Take a look at my rundown of Skype and Google Voice below.
Skype allows you to do two things: 1. Make and receive free voice and video calls to other Skype members, and 2. Make and receive calls from land lines and mobile phones to/from non-Skype members at super low rates (usually one to two cents a minute). You can use Skype in many different ways — on your laptop, on your Internet-ready TV, and on your mobile via a Skype app— as long as you have an Internet connection. Skype is especially helpful when traveling abroad — just hook up your laptop to your hotel's Internet, and make a voice or video call to the folks back home. A Skype paid subscription even lets you have voicemail to corral all your missed calls. But listen up — for the next month, Skype is offering free, unlimited calls to and from certain countries!
To hear more about Google Voice, just read more.
Oh Google Voice, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Google Voice gives you a single phone number that stays with you forever, no matter where you go, or what cell or home phone service you may use in the future. But it comes with many different features: voicemail transcription, call blocking, call screening, conferencing, sending text messages to email, personalized and customizable greetings for different groups or individuals, and it even rings all your devices — home phone, cell, and work line, or more — at the same time (if you choose). It's basically your grand central station for all your voice and text needs . . . for free. There's no video chat function available yet via Google Voice, but if you already have a Google account, you can chat face-to-face with friends and family by enabling the voice and video chat function in Gmail.
I hope this answers your questions about the difference between Skype and Google Voice! Got any other burning questions? Submit them to our Ask a Geek Girl group, or pose a quick question to our Ask Anything feature.