Skype — A Worthy Replacement for the Telephone

Communicating via a mobile phone is something people do across the world everyday. Skype is a powerful software tool which will transfer this experience to the personal computer as well as add the ability to add video calls.

Get your friends, relatives and loved ones to set up their account communication becomes completely free. All you need is a webcam and an internet connection. Does it deliver on its lofty goals? Let’s find out!

Overview

Skype was founded in 2003 and since then, there has been meteoric development in technology starting with video calls and progressing into much more.

Last year Skype’s 170 million users made 207 billion minutes of voice and video calls. These advancements of Skype include group video calling, free calls to other users and calls to mobiles for incredibly low prices. The amount of features available now on Skype is unbelievable and leaves you asking the question: where is the down side?

Skype is basically a communications program which allows you to talk to anyone in the world with an internet connection. Taking two minutes to set up an account and download is so much more better than paying $4 a minute talking to your friends or family abroad via the phone, don’t you think?

Skype offers the following services:

  • A pay-as-you-go deal which includes buying credit. This facility enables you to call mobile and landline phones with an extra SMS service.
  • A service which you can subscribe to from three months to a year. This is ideal for the regular user, who requires the cheapest rates when using Skype frequently.
  • The highest grade is Skype Premium which is primarily used by groups of friends or businesses. Setting up group video calls is the main party piece of this pay band costing you £4.99 a month. This is an excellent service used regularly for conference calls as it saves on traveling expenses, time and allows you to stay in the comfort of your office or home environment.
Skype Webpage

Skype Webpage

Getting Started

After downloading Skype and logging in, you have the feature to import numbers off Facebook into your contacts list. If your friends and family have an account registered, this automatically gives you access to all your friend’s numbers with the ability to call them whenever they come online.

Skype also gives you the ability to add friends from many services such as Gmail and other email providers. After you have your contacts, you will need a microphone and a webcam. These can be easily purchased from most local supermarkets and technology stores for as little as $15. Once connected you’re free to call other Skype users as frequently as you like from all around the world. It’s really that simple.

Performance

The performance on Skype is brilliant, the quality together with the clarity of picture and sound over long distances is exceptional.

If the caller does not have access to a microphone, Skype provides a bar positioned at the bottom of the screen, which will allow them to share events and messages through typing.

Skype Login Page

Skype Login Page

Functionality

As an app for your computer, Skype is very accessible with easy downloads and sign up. A question often asked about online communicators is normally “Is it reliable?”

In Skype’s case yes, it’s probably my most reliable application, never letting me down or crashing during a chat. Skype will call my desired contact in one click and I could be talking to my cousins in Australia within 20 seconds — Skype is just sublimely easy to use.

Skype’s functionality is very efficient and does the job it’s meant to do. Whereas other programs of the same type have let me down in the past, Skype overcomes all problems and has surprised me by being capable beyond belief with different situations. This is achieved by a clear easy to follow format which helps the user to access with ease.

Interface

Skype’s layout is helpful and organized with many tabs linked to other pages to guide you with ease around the application. These include a section for your contacts showing many ways in which you can import or organize them into groups. A contacts tab allows you to identify your chosen individual contact quickly making the process very efficient. Another advantage with the system is it has a useful help section which enables you to leave feedback, check for updates and read frequently asked questions.

An extra option to add apps is available these vary in function, although this can be a useful tool they may be expensive. The main layout of the front page is simple, contacts on the left, and video calls on the right. This easy to use display works very well and allows its users to be free and not baffled with options and features.

Skype Main Page

Skype Main Page

Conclusion

Overall, I feel Skype’s unbelievable power and ease of doing the most difficult of tasks is superb. The free service they offer is awesome and well worth using even if your contact is not too far away. The paid features of Skype are helpful, but in truth if you are not using this software three or four times a week, it’s not worth the money.

In my opinion, I think Skype’s forte is the video call and should really only be used for long range calls or catching up with friends and family. Skype’s new business venture with Microsoft is sure to improve this application further, so more advancements are surely on the cards.

With already 300,000,000 minutes of video calling per day happening on Skype, I’m sure this is the way to go in interactive online communication.


Summary

Skype is a communications online program which allows you to contact your friends and family around the world for free.

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  • http://twitter.com/MichealKennedy Mike Kennedy

    You forgot to mention Skype Numbers and Facebook integration! Unfortunately, Skype Numbers aren’t available everywhere, like in Canada – it sucks :( Otherwise I’d use it as a house phone replacement.

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