The biggest player in the fast growing and increasingly lucrative VOIP (voice over internet protocol) field is without a doubt a name everyone knows Skype. Skype is used by millions of users spread across the globe. You may be surprised to know that the people behind Skype were also the folks behind the development of the somewhat frowned upon file sharing application Kazza.
Skype acts and looks for the most part like any other instant messaging program, chatting to a friend on your friends list is simply a matter of selecting their name and clicking on the green “call” icon. Once you are connected to your chat partner you can communicate via chat, video or text, or indeed all of them combined. You can play games from a large games library, install one of many plugins to enhance your experience or simply chat to friends, family or work colleagues.
Video: The video component of Skype is impressive to say the least, dependent as always on the quality of hardware the video sender is using Skype can deliver breathtaking images, that appear to suffer less from artifact loss than many other video chat solutions on the market.
Audio: The audio on Skype is also very clear although it can from time to time suffer from audio delay, in particular when using the voip to voip phone feature.
In addition to the video chat quality’s of Skype, chatting online via video or voip calls or even cheap local and international calls make Skype a must have. In fact the features of Skype are so numerous it will require a second (and possibly third look) into just what this awesome program can deliver.
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The only negatives I have come across using Skype is it doesn’t seem to be totally Windows Vista friendly (I’m constantly reseting the audio in and out), then again this is nothing new as vista doesn’t seem to be compatible with numerous applications, and it does require a nice chunk of cpu usage which can slow older systems down. As for dial up users I can only imagine the program would be next to useless for the video side of things.
Readers of my previous reviews will know how much importance I place on the more community aspects of video chatting and sadly with Skype there are no multiuser chat room servers that users can check into to find someone to talk to, you can indeed launch a conference and have a few of your buddy listed friends chatting via video at the same time, but there is no faculty to meet random folks and make new friends, one can only hope that the rumors of chat rooms on the horizon is a reality for future releases
Having said this, using something like yahoo to make new friends, then moving them on to your Skype list is an option that is worth the time and effort as Skype is a very slick, stable and fun piece of software you will love using
Skype looks to be around for the long haul and as long as it doesn’t become bloat ware (its already extremely resource intensive) it will be exciting to see what features are added to it and how the application develops from here. Best of all aside from the extremely cheap rates for placing pc to home phone calls, Skype is free to use.
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