Oh, Skype. We have you to thank for transforming thousands, of not hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people into cheapskates. I say that lovingly, for I, too, dream of a day when I can forever free myself from the confines of a monthly cell phone plan and run into the loving, warm embrace of no-monthly-cost, Skype-based chatting…
Okay, so maybe that’s a bit overdramatic. But it would be silly to think that Skype hasn’t radically transformed the way a lot of people go about their daily lives. In fact, some people do indeed subsist on this service, and this service alone, for all of their phone-based needs. And many more people use Skype to conduct business; to make podcasts; to call loved ones from afar, as is the case with Maximum PC dream date winner Magali and her French family.
In short, Skype is kind of a big deal. You know it, I know it, but… the one thing that you likely don’t know off the top of your head is all the different ways you can maximize your VoIP-chatting experience through the use of third-party Skype add-ons, software tweaks, and more! That’s what we’ll be covering in this comprehensive tips guide: Making Skype awesome.
PC users have been rocking Skype 5.0 for a short while now, and now Mac users can get in on the fun, albeit in beta form. Skype 5.0 beta for OS X sports a retooled interface "that simplifies navigation and provides a more Mac-like experience," Skype announced in a blog post.
Group video calling is part of the deal, as is a new call control bar, the ability to search chat content, offline IMing, personalized contacts (via user profiles), the ability to quickly rejoin calls if your Internet connection hiccups, and floating contacts.
It's a completely different Skype app than what Mac users are accustomed to, and most would argue much improved. Not included, however, is any kind of Facebook integration like what's available in the Windows version.
Just one day after appointing Cisco Senior Executive Tony Bates as its new CEO, Skype has gone and announced the release of its Skype for Android app for mobile handsets running Android 2.1 or later.
"The Skype experience is ubiquitous today. More and more people are using Skype to do things together when apart. With the addition of Android, we are pleased that Skype is now available on three of the most popular mobile platforms today: Android, iOS, and Symbian."
It's been a long wait, but now that it's here, Android smartphone owners can make free Skype-to-Skype calls over Wi-Fi or mobile data connections (GPRS, EDGE, 3G), make Skype calls to landlines, send and receive individual or group Skype IMs, synchronize contacts between Skype and the native address book, receive calls on their Skype online number, and a few other goodies.
The rumor mill is churning yet again, and this time we're hearing that Facebook and Skype are about to roll out a deeply integrated experience for users. The two companies are preparing to announce a partnership that will offer access to SMS, voice, and Facebook Connect integration; most likely on both platforms.
Skype has 124 million registered users, so they would be the natural choice for adding telephony communication to Facebook. Many of Facebook's user may already have Skype accounts, so the integration should be seamless. The Facebook integration will reportedly be available in the new version 5 release of Skype expected to drop in the coming weeks.
As Skype prepares for an IPO, this could be quit the feather in their cap. Do you think Facebook users would start using Skype if the integration was there?
For those of you who don't mind walking on the beta side of software, there's a new version of Skype available, version 5.0 Beta 2. Among the handful of changes, Skype 5.0 beefs up its group video calling feature with support for up to 10 people. For it to work, however, everyone in the group needs to be running the latest beta release.
The new version also comes with a revamped UI that Skype says is "sleeker, neater, and crisper than before." Skype Home has been added, where you can keep tabs on your contacts' mood messages, set your own mood message, select a profile picture and receive account notifications.
Otherwise, most of the changes are internal. Skype says it managed to improve call quality when making group calls and squashed a number of bugs that mucked with stability.
One of the topics we get asked about most often is VoIP (short for Voice over Internet Protocol), or Internet telephony. VoIP refers to any service that lets you make “phone calls” online. A lot of people have heard that you can make calls for cheap or even for free using VoIP, but they’ve got questions about how it works.
There are three main forms of internet phone call--PC to PC, PC to Phone, and Phone to Phone. In this article, we’ll explain each type, how it works, and how much it’ll cost you.
A recent filing with the SEC has confirmed what we've all been expecting. That's right folks, Skype is going public. The VoIP service is looking to raise around $100 million in this first round of financing. The shares will trade on the NASDAQ Global Market, and be managed by the likes of JP Morgan and Goldman-Sachs. Analysts are expecting the IPO to be a success; Skype has been expanding and forging new business relationships.
Skype has 560 million registered users, 124 million of which are active monthly. 8.1 million pay for the service, averaging $96 per year. Skype managed to rake in $406 million in revenue and $13.2 million in profit in the first half of 2010. A big step up from the $99 million loss in 2009. Although, at the time, Ebay held a 65% stake in the company and there were disputes over just who owned what. Now that Skype's original creators are back at the helm, many are expecting profits to continue.
Do you use Skype on a regular basis? Are you one of the 8.1 million that pay for the additional features? The SEC filings don't divulge the details of how many shares are going out, but we'll probably hear more at the date approaches.
Google Voice. Situation: It's a pretty awesome competitor to good ol' Skype, especially when you use its crazy powers to forward calls from your magical number to physical locations all over the world. I, for one, use Google voice to get into my own apartment. Ringing me up on the ol' call box in front of my condo complex calls my Google Voice number (local calls only!), which in turn buzzes up my cell phone which, in turn, lets me go home.
That's just one interesting use of an otherwise awesome service. There are many more. Problem: There are not nearly as many apps--Web-based or downloadable--that allow you to interact with Google Voice in unique, cool ways. I've scrounged together five for your enjoyment but, honestly, we're scraping the barrel this week in terms of available software.
So, that said, go register a Google Voice number. And while you're doing that, start skimming this article for awesome new ways to use the service!
There's quite a spat brewing between Fring and Skype over just who should be offering people free video calls over 3G. Fring made quite the bit of news last week when they released an updated app for the iPhone that allowed video calls over 3G using the Skype protocol, as well as its own standard. The calls could be placed to computers, Android phones, iPhones, and Symbian phones. Shortly after release, Fring turned off Skype due to what they claimed was excessive traffic. Now they are saying that Skype actually forced them to stop using the Skype system by blocking them, and sending some nasty legal threats over.
Skype said in a blog post that, " Fring’s mis-use of our software was increasingly damaging our brand and reputation with our customers." They go on to say that they did not block Fring from working, but have been talking to the startup about the situation. Skype contends that Fring is violating the Skype EULA.
Fring's corresponding blog post is a bit more aggressive, calling Skype "cowards" for blocking their app. This is probably going to take some time to work out, so grab some popcorn and get ready for the next round of accusations.