by Matt Mullarkey-Toner
Published on 31 March 2017
After years of incremental upgrades, Google and Microsoft are taking business video conferencing seriously. Hangouts Meet (via G Suite) and Skype for Business (via Office 365) are the companies' video conferencing solutions and what makes this particularly interesting is that most people are already familiar with both due to their consumer-friendly siblings Hangouts and Skype. But in order for you to answer the question, "What's better: Hangouts Meet vs Skype for Business?", we've put together a guide to address that.
Below is a quick comparison of Skype for Business and Hangouts Meet that covers the differences in features and price.
Skype for Business
Some features for Skype for business include:
Skype's broadcasting features are particularly interesting because you can use your mobile device as a controller for the meeting. There are four different roles available for broadcast: Organizer, producer, event team member (e.g. guest speakers), and attendee. The broadcast can also be recorded for viewing after the event. There's also an interesting feature using a Microsoft Pulse plugin that allows for real-time voting and engagement.
A word on PBX integration
For select users, Skype for Business has also incorporated IVR features such as automated answering, call routing, and call queues. The aim is to replace your office phone setup with a fully Skyped-out solution that includes an auto attendant so that if someone called, an automated voice service could put them on hold or direct them to the appropriate line. If you're interested in finding out more about IVR features, check out this write up from Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet.
Being part of the Microsoft family, Skype for Business (formerly Lync) is heavily integrated into the Office 365 suite. That means PowerPoint will natively integrate with your broadcasts and your (and others) Outlook calendar can be used for scheduling meetings. Outside of the Microsoft ecosystem, Skype for Business also integrates with popular apps such as Slack and RingCentral Office.
Note: When i'm referring to Hangouts, I'm referring to its video conferencing feature which is called Hangouts Meet. I'm not referring to the corresponding chat feature which Google calls Hangouts Chat.
Some features for Hangouts Meet include:
In the past, video conferencing has been cumbersome due to clumsy plugins that needed to be downloaded. Google tries to make this as painless as possible by creating a landing page that syncs with Google Calendar and makes joining the meeting as simple as clicking a button; there's no extra need for extra software or plugins.
Just as Skype integrates with Office 365, Hangouts integrates with the G Suite apps. This includes Gmail, Sheets, and Google Calendar. Many companies will find this extremely appealing if they began their business using the free version of G Suite. Since it is made by Google, Hangouts meet also integrates with other Google products such as Youtube. Hangouts Meet allows you to broadcast your presentations live to Youtube and creates a link (you decide if it's searchable) for access later.
The pricing for both of these apps will likely depending on if you're already using one of the productivity suites. We'll go over some basics, but make sure to check out the official pricing page for each because it can vary by country.
Skype for Business
Skype for Business is available as a standalone product or via Office 365:
Hangouts Meet is not available without G Suite.
G Suite has two billing plans:
Otherwise, G Suite is divided into three different plans:
Both of these apps put a lot of stake into the native integrations from each of their respective productivity suites. If your company is already using one of these suites, I think it makes sense to seriously considering using the corresponding video conferencing app. Google and Microsoft are both eager to make waves in the cloud-based business space, and it's likely that they'll continue pouring in cash to develop each.
If your company is not married to a productivity suite yet, then do more research into each and try a demo of each (which is always a good policy) in order for you and your team/company to get a feel for the apps. Otherwise, check out some of the articles below for some of the related coverage we've done on the topic and check out our comparison of Microsoft Office 365 and G Suite.