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What is Skype?

An Introduction to The Most Popular VoIP Software and Service


With more than 350 million registered users, Skype is the most popular voice communication service in the world. Skype is one of the pioneers in voice communication over the Internet, and many other applications and services have followed suit, many outweighing Skype in features and quality, but what makes Skype top all lists of VoIP software is its popularity. The Skype service comes with an application software, which is why many people think of Skype as being only a software, overlooking the great service behind.

Skype has broken many barriers to communication. While in the past you needed to take particular care of the minutes and seconds you spend speaking on international calls, you no longer need to bother about that now. If you use Skype to make PC to PC communication, you pay nothing more than the monthly Internet service, which you would anyway have paid without Skype.

From anywhere in the world, you can make unlimited and totally free calls to anyone in the world provided that person is using Skype too. So, you have to arrange to meet that person online at a time.

Skype also provides presence information in a very practical way. Presence is the availability and willingness of a person to communicate. For instance, if you find a buddy online ready to communicate, then there is presence. Skype allows you to know, if a buddy is offline, when she is willing to communicate, so you can log back in at that time.

It is also possible to use Skype to make local and international calls to landline and mobile phones, through PSTN networks, and also receive calls from these phones on your PC. That is not free, but are very cheap compared to traditional landline and mobile international rates. These services are called SkypeOut and SkypeIn respectively.

People use Skype mainly for the fact that it is popular and as a result, so many people can be found on Skype, from new friends to business partners. If a contact uses Skype, unlimited free calls and possible with them. People around the world use Skype for several things: for long-distance meetings with family, friends and loved ones; for remote activity monitoring; for business calls; for long-distance conferences; for cheap calls during travel, for simply socializing etc.

Skype is used in nearly all countries of the world, as it has been developed in view of delivering clear and consistent calls over the Internet. Today, there are many Skype user groups around the world. The largest groups are found in Europe, North America and South East Asia.

Here is a list of all you need to have to be able to use Skype:

  • A computer with decent processing power and memory, including generic peripherals likes keyboard and mouse.
  • A good Internet connection, preferably broadband.
  • Sound. Make sure your sound card is working properly.
  • Speakers or earpieces.
  • A microphone.
  • The Skype software, which is freely downloadable from www.skype.com
  • One or more persons to communicate with. They need to be Skype users as well. If they are not, you can still access them through their normal phones, but then you have to pay for extra services with Skype.

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