The Hype About Skype

In case you haven’t been paying attention, Skype is redefining the way we make a phone call. Skype is past the point of making some of the biggest telephone-service providers in the industry nervous – now the big guns are trying to play catch-up and it’s not necessarily working.

Skype takes advantage of Voip technology. And for those that don’t know or are afraid to ask, Voip stands for “Voice over Internet Protocol” – which is a fancy way of referring to a category of hardware and software that enables people to use the Internet as the medium-of-transmission for making a phone call, rather than by traditional circuit transmissions of the PSTN (Public Telephone Switched Network) – which is the phone technology your parents have used since they were knee-high to a grasshopper.

That is all you need to know. Anything more technical will just confuse you.

In less than three years, Skype ( has pulled in nearly 70 million registered users worldwide. How can you argue with those numbers, especially when so many individuals are saving so much money on long-distance phone calls?

But the savings don’t just end there: over 2 million Skype users are currently enjoying a new service entitled “SkypeOut” – which allows users to hook up with traditional landline numbers outside of the Skype community. For example, Skype users can tap into landlines from Australia, America and even Europe for about 2 cents a minute. If you consider that most international phone calls cost – at a minimum – anywhere from 7 cents to a quarter – you can see that considerable savings lie in using Skype.

So how does Skype work? I’m glad you asked:

The 2.0 version of Skype can downloaded off the internet. You need a headset or a headset/microphone combination, which runs about $10.00 or so. After you download the program, you’ll notice a record button on the menu. You have to record some audio to see if you have downloaded the program correctly. You’ll notice in the “Contacts” tab it says “Skype Test call”. Record and play back the audio. Granted, the quality isn’t the best. But it is free. And like I’ve always said – free is a good thing. It’s really that simple. Load your contact list, press the green phone icon, wait for the connection, and start talking. Pretty simple. Don’t want to talk? Skype has an excellent instant-messaging feature as well.

If you go for more than standard service you will pay. Check the fine print before diving in head first.

Incredible though it may seem, Skype built its service through good ‘ol word-of-mouth. And what’s more is that a good percentage of registered users are using Skype for business calls on a regular basis. For example, if you’re doing a lot of business, a popular alternative to business meetings is the video conferencing feature that can use up to four participants.

So the next time you’re looking for a cheap, easy-to-use telephone service provider that doesn’t charge an arm and a leg consider the following:

Bais Skype 2.0 features:

– Simplified User interface: an easy-to-understand menu with one-click access to link with key features and options will have you talking with the whole world in no time
– Time Zone of your contact: don’t worry about waking up your friends and family – just take a quick look at what time it is over in their neck of the woods.
– Skype video: See your friends and family on the full computer screen or in the Skype calling window. The Skype window also lets them see you (or what’s the point).
– Skype Toolbar for Microsoft Outlook: use the Skype toolbar for one-click calling to contacts from your Microsoft Outlook address book

There are other features available like “self-expression” avatars, contact grouping and more all for the price of a $10.00 headset.

And not content to just rest on it’s laurels, Skype is currently BetaTesting Skype 2.6 to include: Click to call ordinary phone numbers on any website, Find and join Skypecasts in the Live tab, Share your favorite links in mood message. They’re clickable, and you can search the web with the optional-install Google toolbar.

Skype isn’t the only game in town. There are other Voip service providers with more coming online or in the works. The best advice? Try them out and see which one suits you. At its worst – you’ll cancel the service. At its best, you discover some true savings that standard phone service providers fail to provide.

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