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Zoom is hot, but then so is Skype, Hangouts and Teams. How they compare



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You’ve been told to meet via webcam, and everyone you know uses Zoom. 

But maybe you don’t like the Zoom feature that lets bosses check to see if you’ve been paying attention in a meeting or tweeting in another browser window. Or maybe all of your friends are partial to another messaging platform. 

What other options are there for you? 

Plenty. So today, as a public service, we offer your guide to the top Zoom competitors. 

Before we start, know that you’re not the only one wondering about these apps. Seven of the top 50 most downloaded free Apple iOS apps this week are communications apps: Zoom is No. 1, followed by Google’s Hangouts Meet (No. 9), Microsoft Teams (No. 12), Google Hangouts (No. 29), Messenger (No. 30) Google Duo (No. 36) and WhatsApp (No. 38.)

Google Hangout.

Messenger, WhatsApp and Duo are aimed primarily at one-to-one chats or even small groups, not team meetings, as is Apple’s FaceTime, which comes pre-loaded on iPhones, so let’s focus here on the main alternatives to Zoom: Hangouts, Teams and Skype. 

Both Hangouts and Skype are the victims of neglect by their corporate owners. Google has made various announcements that it plans to discontinue the Hangouts consumer app, as soon as this year, but people continue using it and are downloading it en masse. Google didn’t offer much clarification on Hangouts’ future when USA TODAY inquired. “No changes are happening right now,” is what the company told us. 

Microsoft has said its Skype for Business offshoot will sunset in 2021 and is looking to push users to Teams. It hasn’t updated the classic consumer version of Skype since August.

Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts

Let’s clear up the confusion. There are two Google Hangouts apps on the app charts, Google Hangouts Meet and classic Hangouts. If you’re a student who is looking for a way to do online learning, a PTA group looking to connect and the like, steer clear of Hangouts Meet.

It’s not for you.

Google launched Hangouts in 2013, and in 2017 it introduced the enterprise-targeted Hangouts Meet as a place to “develop relationships with your team regardless of where they are in the world.” Meetings can be started only by subscribers to G Suite, which starts at $7.80 monthly and gives subscribers corporate e-mail and access to programs like Hangouts Meet and “secure chat” with Google Hangouts Chat. 



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