Within our Google Apps environment at the University, we have an extremely convenient option for one-on-one video calls, Google Voice and Video Chat. This feature, available right in our Gmail window, is more convenient than Skype and more secure. Google also features free PC-to-PC voice calls and Instant Messaging with several people at once.
Skype offers additional features, such as phone-to-PC voice calls and multiple-person video calls, but these features cost money. Skype does allow you to share your screen during a video call, which Google does not (yet) do; however, if you plan to make a presentation over the Internet, the University has a dedicated program for that, UM Connect, which will also allow you to record the presentation and use Instant Messaging to ask questions remotely, among other features.
Making one-on-one video calls with the Google Chat is easy and convenient—accessible directly from your Gmail account—and the quality, especially audio, is better than you get with Skype. You will need access to the Internet and a camera and microphone. Just install the Google voice and Video Chat plugin, and you’re ready to go. The plugin is available from your Gmail account window. Here’s how to install it:
- Go to Settings › Chat
- Click on Learn More
- From the browser window that appears, choose Install Voice and Video Chat
For a tutorial explaining how to make a call, see the Google Chat Help.