Those of you who have family and friends scattered across the globe, know how precious and beneficial Skype is! It's one of the most popular and effective ways of cross-country communication. What is Skype? How does it work? What do I need to use Skype for? Moreover, what's so great about it? Well, Skype is an Internet calling or Voice over IP facility that allows you to call up your near and dear ones in any part of the world, who are also connected to Skype. This means using the Skype software, you can call up anybody through the Internet and talk to them. The sound quality of Skype is stupendous and the best part about Skype is, it's free! No more long bills for talking to your family on the other part of the world! Wow! But, how does one avail these benefits?
Things Required for Skype
Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems, Skype is a free download, so you don't need to worry about the costs. Let's find out what you need for Skype to work.
- Windows or Mac computer
- Internet Access
- Headset with speaker and microphone
- Webcam for video calls (optional)
Skype on the Desktop
Step 1: Downloading
Type 'Skype free download' in the Google toolbar and click on the result. It will take you to the Skype website. From there, download the Skype software. You will find a 'Get Skype for windows' green tab on the website. Clicking on this tab will take you to another page which features another green tab 'download now'. Just like you would download any software, click on the different prompts given on the website. Skype will be downloaded onto your system and ready to be used.
Step 2: Opening Skype and Account Creation
Once Skype software has been downloaded onto your desktop, the blue and white Skype icon will be visible on your desktop. Click on this icon to enter the application. The next step is to create one's account. Click on join option and enter or fill the form given to you. Your Skype name and password gets determined here.
Step 3: Adding Contacts
With this Skype name and password, you are now a member of Skype. The next step is to add contacts of friends and family to your Skype contact list. On clicking the 'add contact button' you can find the people you are looking for using the person's name, email address or Skype name, using the Skype toolbar. Once you find them, add them to your list.
Step 4: Connect microphone and Speaker
For Internet calls, you need to connect the speaker and microphone to the computer. Change computer settings if necessary, for the microphone to work. Once these are connected, you are ready to make your calls. If you have a headset, put it on.
Step 5: Make Calls
The icon beside each contact will tell you if the person you are trying to get in touch with, is logged into Skype or not. The green 'tick mark' icon means the person is online, while the 'x' icon means the person is offline. On clicking on the contact you will find two buttons - one green and one red. Clicking on the green button will connect you to the other person. It's like your ring is reaching the other end. Once the person on the other end receives the call, you can talk endlessly for as long as you want. Once you are done, click on the red button and the call will end.
Skype also provides the chat window facility, which means besides voice chat, you can also go for instant messaging. Skype also allows you to send files across with the 'send files' feature. Moreover, you can also make conference calls using Skype. There's a conference button at the top of the Skype pop up window. Click on that and add the people whom you want to have a conference call with.
Besides voice calls, one can even make video calls via Skype. After installing the webcam, go to the webcam preferences in Skype, which can be found under the 'Tools' and then 'Options'. You will be taken to a page with 'General Settings' on the left side. Click on it and follow instructions and set up the Skype webcam. Click on the 'enable Skype video' option and if everything has been done correctly one's video will start working. You can then make your video calls and enjoy the feeling of seeing your dear ones. With Skype video conferencing is also possible.
Skype on Other Devices
These great Skype features are not limited to your desktop. This awesome Internet calling facility is available on other devices too. It's very convenient to use Skype on the cell phone, because you can connect to Skype anywhere and anytime, not just when you are in front of the desktop. Now, Skype calls can also be made out of Wi-Fi hotspots. One can enjoy Skype connection simply anytime and anywhere on one's iPhone. To use Skype on iPhone, you will first need to jailbreak your iPhone, but if you're not familiar with jailbreak, get it done by someone who has a fair idea on how to get the task done. Similarly, you can also use Skype on blackberry.
One drawback of this Skype feature is that the person you intend to call should also be connected to Skype at the time you want to communicate. This mostly means you have to make prior appointments about logging into Skype to talk. However, this is something that is common with other instant messengers too. Sometimes, this seems crazy, because you waste a lot of time just coordinating the time for Skype talk and makes one feel that it's far easier to just pick up the phone and call. There is the Skype to landline or cell phone facility, but it's not free. This small drawback if ignored, Skype is a wonderful Internet calling facility provider.