We moved our core communication platform from Skype to Hip Chat a few months ago and while I wasn't initially that excited about the move the new native app has certainly changed that.
Hip Chat provides a relatively safe place for teams to communicate, without the added distraction of all of your friends knowing that you are online. One of my main bug bears with skype is that it made it difficult to filter out social from work activity, and while I do love to chat with other Joomla folks online, it was becoming more and more problematic in terms of my productivity. Sure I could just ignore or set my status to away but that felt just a little bit rude.
My main gripe about Hip Chat (up until now) was that the desktop app ran on Adobe Air and was not retina ready. While I know that beauty is more than skin deep, it still looked terrible on my shiny (although dead pixel infected retina screen - more about that some other day) retina screen. The improved functionality and privacy certainly overcame this but now there is no need to compromise.
The new app has a new layout and is also retina ready, so it's now a joy to look at and to use. Despite the fact that it's a commercial product, it is pretty cheap ($2 per user per month) and adds some key features that skype does not have.
Hipchat vs Skype
Hipchat stands above skype in a few ways:
- It has a far superior search function and chat history so it's easier to find a comment quickly.
- Notify chat members who are currently offline. Hipchat will send an email to someone in the chat if they are mentioned directly, but are not currently online. This was a major issue for me in skype because both parties needed to be online at once to ensure that the message was received.
- Opt in attachments. If you have ever tried to share a file in a group chat in skype then you will know what I'm talking about. Hipchat simply uploads the attachment to the chat and then users opt in to seeing it rather than the other way around with skype.
I can highly recommend HipChat for teams looking for a cheap alternative to Skypeblog comments powered by Disqus