Skype - free IM & video calls

  • Developer: Skype Technologies
  • Genre: Communication
  • Version: 8.38
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Official information

Release Date 29 August 2003
Developer Skype Technologies
Publisher Microsoft Corporation
Genre Communication
Language English, Arabic, Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian
System Andoid, iOS, macOS, Linux
Version 8.38

Screenshots

Skype - free IM & video calls

When you want to talk to someone on video, you use “skype” as a verb. It’s become the default way of video calls via the Internet. Though now there are numerous rivals both on desktop and mobile platforms, Skype is still used by billions, and not only due to being part of Windows now. It’s still something we need.

First of Its Kind

Back in 2002 the developers of notorious file exchange service KaZaa offered the world a new way to hear and see each other. That’s where Skype review should start to show its bomb effect. Due to the decentralized connection network it offered unprecedented features of voice and video calls online. The architecture of this project was as distributed as in KaZaa, where each user became a node with some shared content in order to download what others share.

These tricks seem so obsolete now, but that’s where Skype arose from: a world with insufficient bandwidth, where dial-up still was king, and landline phones were more ordinary than cellular. What it offered seems unrivaled magic. No wonder that Skype soon joined Xerox and preceded Google in becoming a common name. Older people, who don’t feel easy with mastering Internet technologies, often feel quite good with Skype. It’s easy to launch and to answer, and it’s so familiar, so similar to those videophones they used to see in Back to the Future Part II and other sci-fi. That’s the future they’re been prepared for.

Features and Perspectives

All you need to Skype now is the installed application and your Microsoft account. Even though you don’t use Windows devices at all, you’ll still need to create one from your MacBook, Linux PC, iPhone, or Android device. Well, as Skype is now owned by Microsoft and featured in Windows as its part, the Redmond company has made life easier for its users and got others hooked.

Skype app now offers three ways of communication:

  • Text chatting. Not strictly about texting, it also allows to send emoji, share photos, locations, documents and other types of data. Due to the integration of Microsoft OneDrive, files can be very big, and they are stored on MS cloud for long. Skype also offers real-time translation, gallery for viewing photos you shared with someone, and so on.

  • Voice calling. All you need to have is a mic and a speaker, or a headset. If you use Skype on your phone, there’s no problem at all. You can use it as a regular phone, except for calling emergency services.

  • Video calling. You’ll need a webcam for that, well, you’ll be good with a front camera of your phone. The quality is quite decent, maybe, enough to satisfy all your needs for quality communication. It allows up to 1080p quality, so it’s enough for most screens or webcams.

All these ways to communicate may be used both in tête-à-tête chat or in a group conversation. It’s completely free as long as it’s all within Skype. Paid service start as you leave its territory. You can make calls from Skype to regular mobile or landline numbers, but you’ll need some money on your account. Phone offerings also include a virtual number you can purchase with a small subscription fee (about $7/month). Sometimes it’s the cheapest way to have a real number in a certain country for a foreigner.

It’s also free for educational purposes. In fact, it’s a good investment Microsoft makes. As teachers get used to Skype, they insist their students use it too; and then students also get used to it. Leaving, say, Snapchat for lightminded pics exchange, they trust Skype with their business talks.

Skype is still (probably) the service that is best optimized both for desktop and mobile usage. While services like WhatsApp or Messenger are first of all mobile ones, they require your cellular number and read your data, Skype is relatively anonymous. It only takes a Microsoft account or an old Skype one (if you’re still on it).

The app’s interface is translated into most world’s languages. It has now light and dark themes.

You can also (finally) enjoy decent security. Between 2010 and 2017 Skype was just one big breach, but in 2018 Microsoft finally introduced end-to-end encryption, and Skype is on a par with those young upstart rivals like Viber or Telegram.

Skype in 2018: What It Offers and What It Lacks

Microsoft is shifting its Skype policy. It’s concerned about corporate users more than about private ones now, and it shows. But still it’s popular among private users; some use it because they have their contact list already there; some just get it with Windows and settle.

Skype is compatible with most PCs and mobile devices in use now. It only requires Android 4.1 or iOS 9.0, and there is a working version for virtually all desktop platforms. Some obsolete platforms have been left behind because they couldn’t keep up with protocol changes. Alas, Windows Phone 8.1 and earlier smartphones have been totally beskyped.

Still, it has its large fan base, and, in spite of shadowy forecasts, Skype is here for long.

Skype Tricks and Tips

  • There are extra tools for extra features. You can record your voice conversations, translate spoken dialogs in real time,

  • If you’re on an old or budget Android device, you better try Skype Lite. It has all the basic features, and you probably won’t need what it lacks.

  • Try Skype Desktop for more features (like editing blacklist). Though it may be not available on the official site, it’s still there on thousands of third-party resources.

  • f a spam bot attacks you, block the account and report spam. The more often spammers get blocked, the less sense it makes for them to go on.

Conclusion

Skype is a centralized Microsoft service, needing not your bandwidth or storage, but wanting your money or personal data. There’s a huge flock of rivals around, from WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to FaceTime. But still old-fashion Skype download is available, and it has about 300 million active users by now.

Cons:

  • Some devices have been banned (like TV cameras or old Lumia phones)
  • Current versions are poorer in advanced features
  • Phone number is unnecessary, so fake accounts are spamming more frequently

Pros:

  • Totally free within Skype
  • Good quality of audio and video calls
  • File exchange integrated with conversations
  • Compatible with most hardware
  • Encrypted end-to-end channel
  • Still a business communication default

Usability

Sound

Controls

Interface

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