1. Computing

What is Skype?

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The Most Popular Voice Service:

With more than 500 million registered users, Skype is the most popular voice communication service in the world. The Skype service comes with an application software, called a softphone, 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.

Skype is changing how people communicate with the integration of voice and IM (Instant Messaging) into one application. Talk when you want and type when you want, and switch between the two as you wish, seamlessly.

Presence Information:

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.

High Quality:

People use Skype mainly for the high quality of voice it offers and especially because it offers free PC to PC service. People around the world use Skype for several things: for long-distance mettings with family, friends and loved ones; for remote activity monitoring; for business calls; for long-distance conferences; for cheap calls during travel etc.

Use it Anywhere:

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.

What Do You Need to Use Skype?:

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 you want to use the free service.

What Is Not Free?:

Calls on Skype are free only if the two (or more) communicating parties are using a PC (or Skype-compatible device) and are using the Skype service over the Internet. If a Skype user wants to call a mobile or landline phone from his PC, then he has to pay cheap rates (much cheaper than traditional telephone or roaming) via bought credit. This service is called SkypeOut. In order to receive calls through Skype on a PC from mobile and landline phones, the SkypeIn service can be used against prepaid credit.

Features:

Skype has an interesting number of features, like video conferencing, SMS, voicemail, call forwarding, contact list, integration with MySpace, public chats, business control panel, sketch pad, desktop sharing and many others.

Skype's web site: skype.com

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