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Use Skype Instead of Google Voice

Do you really need Google services for your daily activities? No, you don't. Because with Ubuntu you have the right replacement for whatever Google Service you may be using. In the case of Google Voice the answer in Ubuntu is Skype.

Skype is free software (as in beer) which lets you chat with your friends, call mobile phones, landlines and even send SMS. It is an extremely popular software and it can count on a community of several million users. In other words, Skype is the most common and popular software in this segment, and outperforms Google Voice on almost everything.

Google Voice is, in fact, the answer of Mountain View to the growing popularity of Skype. With a few cons. Because, for example, there is no way to contact most of the people you may know using Google Voice, as it is not as common as Skype and also because, for example, European users are still not able to purchase credit and call mobiles or landlines.

Prices for Skype calls are extremely competitive, at least if compared with prices provided by your operator, and typing SMS with the help of a fully-featured keyboard can surely be a plus. Skype is also available for almost every platform around, including Android and iOS, so that you will be able to always have access to your account and contacts, taking advantage of the extremely cheap rates offered by Skype even while you are on the move.

Same with SMS, with Skype able to send text message to and from any place on earth, a must-have for those having close contacts with friends, colleagues or customers abroad. Sadly, Skype is not free as in speech and you have to agree with the typical proprietary software EULA before being able to use it. It can be downloaded for free, but you won't be able to modify, redistribute, or take a look at the code.

In newer versions of Ubuntu you can find Skype in the Ubuntu Software Center available for installation. Skype can also be downloaded from the official website, where the developers provide several different packages able to fit any flavor of Ubuntu. 


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  1. Anonymous2:18 AM

    "European users are still not able to purchase credit and call mobiles or landlines..."
    Nooooooo isn't correct.
    I'm Italian and I purchased credit and I can call all number in Italy!

    Now Skype is a property of Microsoft: brrrrrrrrrrr!

  2. I just checked again. It doesnt appear I can create a Google Voice phone # from Italy. How are you doing it?

    Also... Microsoft is VERY evil... but Google is just as big and becoming evil as well.

    We are faced with difficult challenges, I admit.

  3. It's worth noting that Google Voice and Skype came from very different origins and goals so you will find this reflected in their offerings. Google Voice is an evolution of the Grand Central service for having one number forward to multiple devices and Skype originally was just a glorified IM client, with phone numbers and such added later. Which you use will be highly dependent upon your needs.

    And unfortunately Skype for Linux isn't very well maintained, and I don't see that changing with the acquisition by Microsoft (in fact, I fully expect it to be dropped). It doesn't work on my desktop and as closed source software my options for debugging are severely limited.

    Honestly I wouldn't categorically recommend one over the other. It wholly depends on your needs and which one actually works on your system and configuration. Either way you're using a closed source application and network managed by a large corporation.

  4. The MS acquisition of Skype was a strange one for me. I too felt they would probably drop it at some point. Whenever Im in Europe Skype is the #1 app for net calls and video calls. Its the same with ICQ especially in the eastern block. When AOL bought ICQ I also thought that was strange.

  5. Anonymous4:29 AM

    I would recommend Jitsi (Jitsi.org). Its a cross platform LGPL client wtitten in Java. If one wishes to get away from closed corporate platforms, Skype is not the answer.

  6. Anonymous10:08 AM

    Google might be turning evil at some point, but what we know for sure is that Microsoft HAS BEEN EVIL for decades now, while the new king of evil is Apple.

  7. A recent rating online showed Google is the least intrusive, with Apple and Microsoft being the worst. I still feel Google is right up there. They have too many links to the NSA, making anything Google an automatic filter for the government.

  8. No, there isn't a replacement for everything.  I can't replace Sprint-Google integration with Skype.  The fact that I can use the standard messaging apps for SMS and voicemail is icing.