The sheer power of video is well-known; we all remember what it did to radio back in the ’80s, after all. But what would happen if video picked a fight with video? Curious, we tossed two of the top video chat options into a cage to determine the superior specimen. Skype may be the big man on campus, but Google's scrappy video calling plugin delivers the same features from within the Google ecosystem. There can be only one!
Note: This article was taken from the September issue of the magazine.
Ever since Skype updated its network to transfer the supernodes that power the service away from a P2P system and onto secure, Skype-run data servers, rumors have run rampant that the update occurred solely to make Skype more amicable to government wiretapping requests. Yesterday, the Washington Post ran a story claiming that Skype recently expanded its cooperation with authorities, and the architecture changes let the company provide more chat and user info to feds. Last evening, Skype officially responded to the various allegations in a blog post by COO Mark Gillett. In a nutshell, Gillett says the rumors are nuts.
Microsoft on Monday confirmed that a wily bug in Skype could, in some instances, cause instant messages (IMs) to be delivered to a different IM client than the one intended. It only occurs when Skype crashes during an IM session, which Microsoft said could result in the last IM entered or sent ending up finding its way to a random contact. Today Microsoft started rolling out a hotfix.
Skype is virtually everywhere. There are native Skype clients for almost all major platforms, from the PC to mobile devices to connected TVs. But what about the Web? After all, it too is an apps platform, and a powerful one at that. Even though a browser-based version of Skype doesn’t exist at the moment, recent job postings by Microsoft have revealed that an effort to remedy this situation is already underway.
Few things matter more than a solid Internet connection when you’re a geek on the run. Along those lines, you can find decent Wi-Fi at airports, but you’ll pay through the nose to access it – most of the time, that is. Skype’s pulling its best Santa Claus impression and gifting fliers (naughty or nice) with an hour of free Wi-Fi at 50 airports across the U.S. during the peak holiday travel season.
Video may have killed the radio star, but Vdio, the online video equivalent of Rdio, will do battle with Netflix for streaming supremacy. Up until yesterday, Vdio was a secret project headed by Skype creators Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, along with a modest team of heavy hitting players who aren't accustomed to failure, people with experience from Skype, Napster, Microsoft, TV Guide, and Apache. Does Netflix have anything to worry about?
As far as multi-billion acquisitions go, Microsoft's bid to takeover Skype was, for the most part, nothing but smooth sailing. It took U.S. regulators all of about 2 seconds to approve the $8.5 billion merger, while the European Union took a little longer deciding whether or not to give its stamp of approval, which it did. With all the paperwork in place, Microsoft closed the deal with Skype on Thursday after originally announcing the transaction on May 10, 2011.
It's been nearly five months since Microsoft announced plans to acquire Skype for $8.5 billion, so why hasn't it happened yet? For the simple reason of waiting for regulatory approval. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission approved the merger back in June, and now so have regulators from the European Union who determined the deal "would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area."
The number of Android smartphones and tablets that now support video calling over Skype grew by more than a dozen with the release of Skype 2.5, the latest version of Skype's mobile software that allows users to make free voice and video Skype-to-Skype calls over 3G or Wi-Fi. Skype now supports video calls on 41 Android devices in all.
Skype has announced today that it is preparing to adopt Google’s open source VP8 codec for all video calls. The upcoming Skype 5.5 Windows client will use VP8 for 1-to-1 calls as well as group calls, which have used VP8 for some time. This is definitely a boost to Google’s WebM open video initiative.