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Many people on Google Hangouts use it because it allows group chats with ten people. Skype now steals a bit of their thunder with the announcement of free group video calling. Earlier, at least one user had to be a premium paying subscriber to arrange a group chat. Skype free group calling is now available on Windows desktop, OS X, and the Xbox One. It will roll out to other platforms (like the Modern UI Skype app for Windows 8.1) in the near future. It will stay free.

Skype was always good for one-to-one video calls. Now, Skype’s group video calling can handle three to ten participants, but the company says five or fewer video callers should be optimum. The refreshing update should enable users to share many experiences as a family, as a circle of friends, or as collaborative teams. For instance, you can collaborate in real time with screen sharing via Skype.

Skype is playing catch-up with services like Google Hangouts, who has the lead. Google has tailored many other features around its group hangouts like collaborative apps. Google Hangouts also seems to be cooler than Skype 5 Reasons Google Hangouts Are Cooler Than Skype For Video Chats 5 Reasons Google Hangouts Are Cooler Than Skype For Video Chats Hangouts is Google's take on chat rooms. Like many times before, Google has turned a good idea into something incredibly useful, while preserving simplicity and ease of use and thus making it fantastic. In this... Read More , but this should help to close the distance.

What will happen to the paying members now that the core feature is free? Though there is no official word yet, this Skype community thread has a comment from the Skype team.

What do you feel about the change? Is this enough for you to launch Skype again for group video calls?

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Source: Skype Blog via PC World

  1. Utomo
    May 4, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    That is video call. Voice call is lighter and I think can support more

  2. Utomo
    May 4, 2014 at 12:10 am

    How many group voice call Skype can handle?

    • Saikat B
      May 4, 2014 at 3:10 pm

      Skype’s group video calling can handle three to ten participants, but the company says five or fewer video callers should be optimum.

  3. BBarnes
    May 3, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Skype was the 800 pound gorilla of video-conferencing but until recently their Linux support was poor and they have yet to offer anything for Chromebooks. I suspect that Microsoft owning Skype was a step backwards. Anyway I will use Google Hangouts or Appear.in.

    I dislike supporting Microsoft because they chose to lie about the Chromebook in their recent advertising campaign "Scroogled"

    • Saikat B
      May 4, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      I am still positive about Skype, and with their renewed focus on the cloud, the future seems to be good -- competition wise.

    • Mark O'Neill
      May 21, 2014 at 8:16 pm

      I actually forget that Skype is now owned by Microsoft. They have kept their ownership rather subtle in the sense that the Microsoft logo is not splashed over everything.

    • Saikat B
      May 22, 2014 at 3:52 am

      Last year, they did say something about their rebranding plans for Skype, Xbox, and Bing. One of it had to do with a more flatter look. I guess other elements will follow soon.

  4. Ashwin D
    May 3, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Cool News. Now I see how real Microsoft's rivalry against google is!

  5. Bao.atun
    May 3, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Wow, I see skype everyday. It keeps developing, Congrats

  6. jon
    May 3, 2014 at 7:41 am

    Premium members get pro rata refund of paid monthly subscription and then free premium service (ad free and with online customer service] to end of year. Email received this week.

    • Saikat B
      May 3, 2014 at 10:50 am

      Thanks for the update. They also say --

      Skype Premium is undergoing some changes as we strive to improve the products and services we can offer to you.

      Android Central also has this bit:

      The company will be providing premium subscribers with unlimited calls to phones in over 60 countries (mobile numbers in 8 - see the Skype list for more details), without bumping your fee.

  7. Milindalaknath
    May 3, 2014 at 4:50 am

    LOL ! Microsoft always copy from others like Google,Apple and Linux.

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