With Google Hangouts and Facebook Video Chat recently launched, video chat is posed to make a huge leap forward. However, with so many different options becoming available, choosing the best service for every situation is becoming more and more difficult. To help, we are breaking down the best use cases for all of your favorite video chat services.
Facebook Video Chat: By far the biggest plus to the video chat functionality within Facebook is its integration with your pre-existing network. It is likely that Facebook is where your largest list of friends exists, so for one-on-one hassle free chats, Facebook Video Chat is the way to go.
Google Huddle* Hangout: Unlike Facebook Video Chat, the other hot new service - Google Hangout - is all about group chat. Google Hangout provides a place for up to 10 different people video to video conference. This is something that is just not possible on Facebook yet, and services like Skype charge a a minimum of $5/month for similar options. While group video chats using Google Hangouts are a cinch, we think one-on-one chats are far too complicated - especially compared to its Facebook counterpart.
Skype: Compared to the other options listed here, Skype is the old dog in the video chat world. While it has had its fair share of criticism over the years, that is only to be expected after so many years. One huge advantage over the other services is the stand-alone nature of Skype. Despite the fact that Skype is powering Facebook Video Chat, there is still something nice about not having to start a potential distraction just to have a simple video chat.
Fring: This app just launched officially late last month, bringing the features of iOS Facetime to a larger potential use amongst groups of friends (up to 4 users can chat together). Designed to work with the iPad, iPhone and Touch, this is still best suited for at-home wi-fi network use on the iPad, because streaming via even 4G (or what passes for 4G) can cause video stuttering or low quality images. But still, Fring is definitely one of the more interesting peeks at where mobile communication and social networking is heading.
And of course, if you don't care who you're chatting with online via video, you can always jump back into the wondrous [smirk] world of Chatroulette and let (mis)fortunate choose your next chat partner.
*[Editor: writer originally incorrectly attributed video chat to Google's mobile group chat app, Huddle; apologies for the error]