Skype is a messaging program that can be used to make voice calls as well as text and video chat. Created by Estonian software engineers in 2003, including Jaan Tallinn who is best known for the music-sharing platform Kazaa, Skype is now owned by Microsoft. Subsequently, Skype has been synced with several Microsoft devices and applications.
- Most computers
- Smartphones and other mobile devices
- Xbox One
Skype is available as a free download and can be placed on your desktop, laptop, Xbox, and any mobile devices. Since it requires a single login, you can access your contacts on any of these platforms.
Key Features and Benefits
Skype currently operates on a “freemium” model, with the draw being that text, video, and voice chat is free. Free calls, chat, and conference calsl can be made to other Skype users directly on the platform, with surcharges for calling landlines and mobile phones using traditional telephone networks. For users who have older and/or lower-income relatives who don’t have access to computers or smartphones, Skype is often a more economical option than relying on roaming rates or phone cards to call foreign landlines.
In addition to the large variety of Skype-compatible devices, Skype is appealing to users with all budgets and needs since it can be used with both internal and external microphones and webcams, or solely for text. Text, audio, and images can also be sent with the program’s instant messaging features which makes it ideal for users who need to send text messages but don’t have SMS service, or need to send messages to users in other countries.
Skype has most of the features that users in need of voice chat are seeking, such as profiles, online and away status, and the ability to see past text messages and chats.