So I have a small confession to make….. There is 1 Google product I do use: Google Voice! I’m not proud of it. I don’t make it publicly known. I use it for random things like my business, forwarding calls, giving out to guys I meet at bars, etc. It’s free & somewhat convenient. Checking messages from my computer and the rare international phone call make it worth having. But I REALLY want to get rid of it. I got it in place of visual voicemail for my windows phone which is still not available (thanks AT&T and T-Mobile). The voice to text feature ranges from funny to annoying. The early adopter understanding I had in the beginning for it is over. I have many ways of doing messaging built into my windows phone and then I have a bunch of cross-platform apps that use my data for sending and receiving text messages. And as of last year 1 big thing has changed: Microsoft owns Skype.
Everyone has been talking about the potential of Microsoft owning Skype from where it can be: built into Windows Phone OS, part of the Xbox and a better windows app. Many have been complaining about it taking a while for a WP7 app to be made available. It is now in beta so stop your bitching. Many question the redundancy: Skype has a built in messenger and Microsoft has live messenger. Skype would compete with Lync. Bla Bla Bla. But what no one has been talking about is that Skype needs to be treated like Windows Mobile 6.5 and Windows 7. It needs to be scrapped as we know it and rebuilt from the ground up. Have you been to the main Skype site? I’m not putting a screen shot of it. It’s too ugly to sully my blog with. Go to skype.com and cover your mouth as so you don’t cover your screen with vomit. I’ll be waiting right here. …………………..
Good your back and you’ve cleaned yourself up. It’s like taking a really bad acid trip back to the 90’s right? That site would look great if I were still sporting a flat-top, guess jeans and getting down with the new jack swing on my Walkman. The site looks bad and the desktop client looks worse, unlike the slick Windows Phone Beta app. Then if the site/desktop client weren’t enough of a mess try to figure out the pricing. I DARE YOU! Google voice for the most part for the time being is free. I can call an old fashioned land line for free so long as it’s in the US. The lay out is simple and easy to use which is surprising for Google. Microsoft needs to rip Skype to shreds and start it over from scratch.
- Fix the pricing structure: I don’t expect nor want free. $9 a month for domestic and international calls (don’t charge extra for a phone number), visual voicemail and messaging (don’t apply to windows phone users as it’s built in). No more Skype points! I hate Microsoft points on the Xbox and Zune so I don’t want to have to figure them out in order to make a call. Microsoft knows how to do subscriptions as they’ve been doing it with Zune and Xbox live. Free Skype to Skype calls. Just make it that easy. Make the free messaging as universal as possible. Connects to Live, Yahoo, AIM, Google chat, iMessage, SMS, etc. Include unlimited call forwarding that can be tied to a mobile number, a work number and a home number.
- Scrap the Skype website. Microsoft.com and windowsphone.com looks so much better. Go totally metro with HTML5.
- Keep the Facebook integration but I don’t want to have to think of where I’m sending a message. Just like in windows phone. Also tie a Facebook profile to the Skype phone number.
- Skype is for personal use. It doesn’t need a lot of business features. That’s what Lync is for. Video/Audio calls and messaging only. It really doesn’t need much more than that. It doesn’t need advanced screen sharing or gotomeeting features.
- For windows there should only be 2 versions. A Metro Windows 8 app and a Windows 7 app. The Windows 7 app should look and feel like a version of the Zune Desktop (which is the way all windows desktop apps should look). Simplified menu options; Contacts; status, call (video or audio), messages (Video and Audio). Merge all my contacts. I don’t want to have to think of where a contact is. Combine all my Facebook, outlook and live contacts.
- Hotmail allows user to create multiple addresses that can be managed from 1 account. Do the same with phone numbers. That way I can have a business number separate from my personal number.
- Voice to text isn’t necessary but visual voicemail is a must. Visual voicemail and text should be handled like Messages in Hotmail. Where messages from select people can be flagged and put at the top at all times unless a message is marked urgent.
- Text Message forwarding. If a text message comes to my Skype or my mobile, it should forward everywhere. If someone txt’s me it should go to Skype, live messenger (which means every messenger connected to live), Facebook messenger and my mobile phone (should Skype not be enabled for some reason). Bonus if you can give it a Blackberry messenger like feature.
- Video mail! Send a video message. This is awesome in live messenger. Please move it to Skype.
- Skype was the trailblazer as far as VOIP. Now it has 3 big competitors; Google Voice, Vonage and Magic Jack. Microsoft makes some great hardware. Skype has Home Phones and some other accessories. It needs only one for the home phone. A Wi-Fi box that a home phone can plug into. Most coreless home phones have a satellite system that allows for extra handsets to be connected to one 1 phone jack.
Skype is still the future of making phone calls but somewhere between 2005 and 2011 it lost its way and need to be rebuilt from the ground up as something that’s WAY easier to understand & easy enough for anyone to use. I have full confidence that Microsoft can make great looking software. I use their stuff all the time. So I’m not worried about the Windows Phone, Xbox app or even the desktop/metro app too much. But I want to switch to Skype and kill my Google Voice without having to figure out what my monthly bill will be. Currently if I buy Skype premium it says I get an allowance of minutes. How many I don’t know. SMS starts at 4.7¢ per message. I get unlimited with my T-Mobile plan and free with Whatsapp. About the only thing I’m getting with it is sending messages from my PC. Skype premium doesn’t say that it includes a phone number. In fact the pricing for a number is baffling. And while I can forward calls from Skype to my mobile and home it doesn’t say whether it works the other way around. For Skype to be a success, Microsoft has to bring it into 2012 fast. Either that or Microsoft has to make Hanson, Hootie and the blowfish and the Barenaked Ladies hit bands again.