Skype

One of the newest applications used for chatting (featuring text, video and audio) is Skype.  Skype was founded in 2003 by Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis. Skype created a little piece of software that makes communicating with people around the world easy and fun. With Skype you can say hello or share a laugh with anyone, anywhere. And if both of you are on Skype, it’s free.

Skype is available in 28 languages and is used in almost every country around the world.

Video calling is simple to set up and offers a great way to see friends and colleagues. Making a video call using Skype requires a webcam (in addition to your headset or speakers and microphone).

Install the software for the webcam and then plug in the webcam to the computer. Skype will automatically detect the webcam and offer a way to test the webcam to ensure everything is working correctly. Once that is done, any Skype call can include video.

From within Skype calls can be made to ordinary or mobile phone numbers using SkypeOut starting at approximately $.02 per minute.  For approximately $30 per year anyone can obtain a SkypeIn phone number with the area code of choice that will allow contacts outside the Skype network to call directly into Skype. You can also set up Skype Voicemail so people can leave you messages when you’re not around.

Skype is jam-packed with great features to help you stay in touch with friends, family and co-workers, share your thoughts and views and find the information you need. You can use it on your computer and on both WiFi and cordless phones.

Just for starters you can instant message with anyone on your contact list or even use group chat to chat with up to a hundred people. You could hold a conference call with up to nine other people to organise a get-together and then use SkypeFind™ to search for the perfect venue to hold it.

There are also really cool video features. All you need is a webcam to make free video calls or even take photos of yourself to personalise Skype.

If you use Microsoft Outlook®, Outlook Express®, GMail™, Hotmail® or your mail account with Yahoo! then it’s a simple task to import contacts and get them all onto your Skype. If they don’t have Skype yet you can send them invite to download it – then you can talk for free (and maybe you’ll even get a nice bouquet of flowers and a chocolate bar from them to say thanks for getting them onto Skype? We’d like to think that’s in order).

Got friends on MySpace? Get them to download Skype or MySpaceIM with Skype. Then add them to your Skype contact list and you’ve got even more people to talk to for free. Simply search for them in Skype and click the MySpaceIM tab in the search results.

Adding someone to your contact list is easy. But you can also add people who are not yet on Skype and call them on their phones and mobiles at pretty cheap rates wherever they are.

Also, if your Microsoft Outlook® contacts have phone numbers, you can have them show up on your contact list so you can call them. You’ll need Skype Credit or a monthly subscription to make calls to phones and mobiles.