Google Voice vs. SkypeOn this week's Prizefight, we have a face-off between the two hottest VoIP services. Will Google Voice come out of this punching match on top, or will Skype prevail?
-What's up, Prizefight fans. I'm Brian Tong and we have a face-off between two of the hottest voice over IP services. It's a Prizefight push-out between Google Voice and Skype. Our judges for this fight: our senior associate editor, Nicole "Ice Cold" Lee; senior associate editor, Jessica "Duke it Out" Dolcourt; and yours truly, all-night-long Tong. Now, we'll take all of 3 judge's blind scores and average them out to the nearest 10th each round. The final Prizefight score will be an average of all rounds using the same decimal system. We know these services aren't really identical to each other, but they're both worthy for this 4 round bracket. Round one is up at Interface. Both services live on your desktop and mobile devices but that's where the similarities end. Google Voice lives in your browser and if you live in the Google World like Nicole does, you'll like its tight integration. Standard little 3rd party apps and browser plug-ins exist, but the Google freaks, they use the browser. Google Voice has mobile apps where you don't even need an app to take advantage of the service once it's set up. Now, Skype is the original VoIP app and it's pretty basic and design like an IM client for the desktop. We feel like you could also use an update visually because, honestly, some of those icons are a little junky. Now, if you're talking mobile, Skype has an app available for a majority of the top phones, but we found out that it always isn't the snappiest. With video being one of its core uses, it's also disappointing that Skype is lagging behind on mobile devices there. In round one, Google Voice gets a 4 and Skype gets a 3. Next round is features. Google Voice gets a major kudos for forwarding your calls from your Google Voice number to your mobile phone number and you'll get text messages with transcriptions when someone leaves a message. The transcription is anything but perfect. -Hey, B Tong! What's up? This is RAL. Wondering if you wanna play a little football, tossing around a little pigskin, you know. -The visual voicemail through the web browser is money. Now, Skype's killer features are its video and voice chats and this might go to when I'm talking to friends internationally. You can't underestimate the fact that this app works globally. Video quality and audio quality are great and it works cross platform. But Google Voice takes this round with a 4 and Skype gets a 3.7. Next round is device compatibility. Google Voice is pretty much ubiquitous. It takes a few steps to set up the service, but you can manage it from any device that has a web browser and it's integrated to make calls within Gmail. And even better, you can use it on almost any mobile phone without having to use an app. It won't work on a VoIP devices but that's what makes it special. Skype can be used through a desktop app, a smartphone app, or through a dedicated Skype phone, but for the most part, you're going to need an app and you're friend is going to need the app to use the service. The judges all agree Google gets a perfect 5 and Skype gets a 3. So after averaging 3 rounds, Google Voice leads by over 1 point, But will Skype have what it takes to come back? The fourth and final round is cost. Google Voice makes free calls to landline and mobile phones in the US and Canada through 2010, but will it stay free forever? You can send free text messages and get free voicemail through the service. International pricing varies, but you will have to drop some coin. Skype offers free calls to anyone in the world as long as both of you are using Skype. But if you wanna make calls to a landline or mobile phone, you'll also have to pay. So, in the final round, Google takes this with a 4 and Skype gets a 3.7. So, let's average all 4 rounds out. Google took the sweep and there will be no surprises here as Google Voice is victorious, 4.3 to 3.7 and is your Prizefight champion. Both of these are great VoIP services. They aren't exactly alike but it really depends on what you're looking for. Google Voice excels as a phone service and Skype excels at video and voice calling, but in the end, Google Voice came out on top. I'm Brian Tong. Thanks for watching. We'll catch you guys next time for another Prizefight.