Windows > Internet > Connection & Internet Phone > VoIP > Skype
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Skype is a popular, easy to use and reliable VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) program, that allows you call and talk to other Skype users, video chat and more for free over the internet.
With Skype you can not only have voice chats on your computer – just like telephone, only for free – but also make real phone calls at much lower rates, using the so called SkypeOut service and paying with Skype credit. Besides voice chats, Skype also includes the standard IM functionalities (written conversations, emoticons, user avatars and so on) and also lets you have video conferences.
These video calls are precisely the main focus on Skype’s latest version. The program’s interface has been completely redesigned with video conferences on mind. This means it’s been made wider so that video fits in perfectly with your written chat, your contact list and a toolbar to manage conversation. Honestly, I’m not sure this is a big improvement; my guess is that most people still use Skype only for voice calls and will find the new interface too obtrusive.
The sound quality during our testing was perfect: loud and clear. Video appeared a bit pixelated, but nothing we couldn’t really deal with. There was also one nice detail, and that’s the ability to see your own video image built-in on your contact’s video, and the possibility to take a snapshot of your own image.
Other improvements in this beta are, among others, a call quality feedback indicator, the ability to turn alerts off, the possibility to group contacts and a new feature called Video in mood, which lets you embed online videos from Metacafe and Dailymotion in your status message.
Skype 4 features a complete interface overhaul that now focuses more on video chats, and also adds some handy improvements to the way you communicate online.
Recent changes in Skype:
- Skype Access – access WiFi hotspots the easy way with your Skype Credit.
- Call transfer – transfer calls to a Skype contact or a mobile or landline.
- Updated call quality guide with pre-call soundcheck.
- Bug fixes.
OS requirements for Skype:
- OS: Win2000/XP/Vista/7
- The download link from the publisher’s site appears to be broken
- You can still download it from Softonic
- Attempting to download the file from an external source