According to some, Google+ is out to trump every other cool thing on the internet. Here's why it's not going to happen. By Gretta Brown
When Google+ was launched, there was so much hype about its potential success and the out-of-this-world possibilities that existed with Google behind a social network. It was seen as a major threat to Facebook. Turns out, it’s not. Facebook is just fine and seemingly always will be. Another service that is said to be threatened by Google+ is Skype, based on the extensive, free video chatting features of Google+. While Google+ couldn’t really damage Facebook, it certainly has a chance against Skype, right? Wrong. Skype isn’t threatened in the least.
Skype isn’t a social network like Google+. It offers video chatting and VoIP services. When Google+ announced Hangouts, it seemed like a direct challenge to Skype. On Hangouts, you can video chat with a total of 10 people at once for free. Skype only offers such capabilities for paid subscriptions. For the same cost of nothing with Skype you can video chat with only one other person. Some people believed that because Google+ offered this superior feature, everyone would be jumping off the Skype ship soon enough. But so far, this isn’t happening. Yes, many Skype users will take advantage of Hangouts, but not nearly enough to be considered a threat.
One of the reasons Hangouts won’t significantly impact Skype is that Skype users are loyal. They’ve been using Skype services for so long now, and they’ve already paid for subscriptions so there’s no reason to switch. Also, one of the main uses of Skype is VoIP, something that Hangouts doesn’t offer. Yes, you can get VoIP via other Google services, but that’s not Google+. For VoIP, most people have already selected their preference between Skype and Google. The only real draw to Google+ is the ability to video chat in groups for free. But how many people will really take advantage of this? Most conversations and video chats are done between two people. Just because you have the capabilities to add more parties doesn’t mean you will. Oftentimes we still prefer to keep communication one-on-one. If people don’t need group video chatting, there’s no reason to leave Skype, where two-person video chatting is already free, for Google+.
It’s undeniable that Facebook is much more powerful as a social network. People have been using Facebook for years. Google+ doesn’t even come close to the levels of usage and engagement that Facebook sees on a daily basis, and it likely never will. Now, Skype has partnered with Facebook. With the backing of the biggest social network around, Skype doesn’t have to be afraid of Google+ at all. As Skype and Facebook develop their relationship, we’re likely to see lots more advancements in video chatting on Facebook via Skype. It may seem that Skype and Facebook did feel threatened by Google+, but they have joined forces and therefore squashed any small dangers that were lurking. While Google+ still has a lot of growing and maturing to do, it’s not likely to make any significant changes or offer anything new that could truly compete with Skype.