With over millions of users around the world, who hasn’t heard of the popular application that brings communication over the web, without a phone? Skype is a free application that allows people to make voice calls over the internet to anyone around the world without any charges. What makes this program superior to others of its type is that it has amazing sound quality and the videos are clear. Not to mention the application’s clean and friendly interface that makes all options available in sight.
When Skype starts up, it plays a log-in sound and goes straight to the application window, where it views a user’s contact list, basic profile view, profile image, conversations tab, search directory, shopping section and a “call phones” tab for those who wish to dial phone numbers. Skype’s sleek and clean interface is adjustable on both panels, the buttons and layout colors are smooth and shiny and everything is organized in the menu bar by category and specific actions.
In Skype’s “tool” section, a user can edit settings in general, for video, sounds, audio, privacy options, notifications, customizing calls and IM settings and appearances. In these options, a user can modify the volume of audio, when Skype sounds should be played, who could contact the user, how the program should start and when to notify a user about their contact’s status updates. Though this sounds like a large amount of options to modify, in reality, it is not very cluttered in the settings window, and there is nothing that may be difficult for first time users to understand. Therefore, changing around options is no hassle and can be done easily.
Using Skype is also a breeze, considering most of the necessary functions of the program are already on the main window. A user could choose from making a regular call, or a video call which includes the use of a web camera. One could also choose to share his or her screen, which would allow the other caller to see whatever is on the user’s computer screen. There are also options which allow a person to hold a call or to mute the microphone.
There is also instant messaging available whether a user is on a call or not. The instant messaging window is usually shown right below the video screen area and has various emoticons to choose from. Using Skype’s IM function is just like any other chat client, but without the additional font settings. Skype also includes file transfers in which users could send files to others.
If any problems arise during program use, Skype has a function in which a user could send call quality feedback to report any calling issues such as constant drop calls or difficulty hearing a contact because of static and random background noise.
The program is also quite stable and does not crash during usage. The installation file is about 2MB and when Skype is installed, it expands to about 31MB. The memory usage, however, is quite high even when not making any calls. It also runs two processes in the background in the meantime. But, installation and signing up is easy and definitely painless.
Though Skype is free with user-to-user calls, calling a phone number requires Skype credits and various connection fees may be applied. There is also only an option to buy $10 worth of credits; no lesser options.
Generally speaking, Skype is a great program for making online calls and video sessions. It is also an inexpensive and an easy way to get connected with out-of-the-country families and friends without using calling cards and being billed for long distance. The only downfall, however, is that both users must have Skype for free calls.