IT ANSWERS – What is Skype, anyway?

What is Skype, anyway?

So what is Skype? Everyday there is another new tech gizmo to learn and well, we are here to help. Skype was founded in 2003 in Luxembourg, and is used to break down barriers to communication. As the world’s technology improves, the world itself gets smaller.

In its most basic terms “it’s a tool to make free phone calls through your computer”. The online definition of Skype is: “a software application that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free, while calls to both traditional landline telephones and mobile phones can be made for a nominal fee using a debit-based user account system.” So there you have it.

With more than 350 million registered users, it’s the most popular voice communication service in the world, so it would be wise to take notice and as they say “Start Skyping”.  Celebrate with a friend in America, chat with your loved ones or even hold a meeting work with colleagues – it’s all possible with Skype and you can now use your phone or computer or a TV with Skype on it.

How do you get started? All you need is a computer connected to the internet, download and install the program, register a Skype user and you’re good to go. Here is a list of all you need:

  • A computer with decent processing power and memory (including keyboard and mouse)
  • A good Internet connection
  • Sound, so be sure your sound card is working
  • Speakers or earphones.
  • A microphone.
  • The Skype software (free download from http://www.skype.com)
  • One or more people to communicate with and they need to be Skype users as well. If they aren’t, you can still reach them on their normal phones, but you’d have to pay for extra services with Skype.

If you pay a little, you can do more – like call phones, access Wi-Fi or send texts. You can pay as you go or buy a subscription. And in the world of business, this means you can bring your entire office together to get things done.

Once installed, it kind of looks like a chat program, where you can add/block contacts, see who’s online and then communicate with them and everyone’s got a friend or relative who talks through Skype for free. All they do is click on a contact that’s online and start talking once the call is answered. Presto!

There’re many other applications and services out there which outshine Skype in features and quality, but why Skype wins is its popularity. So, many people can be found on Skype, provided you have someone else using Skype to talk to, just arrange to meet that person online at a time certain time and join the fun.

Now you know what it is, how to get it, how to use it and all its perks. What are you waiting for? Go get “Skyping”.

Look out for our print copy all around Nigeria. So much to learn and so little time.

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