Skype, one of the leading voice over IP providers, has taken Europe by storm and is set to do the same in the United States. Skype offers free long distance calling anywhere in the United States and Canada, from the comfort of anywhere you can take your computer. In addition to the voice calling feature, Skype facilitates conference calling, real-time chatting, voice mail and file transfer to individuals or groups. Once you've downloaded Skype and set up your free account, it's time to find some of your friends.
Click "Contacts" in the menu along the horizontal menu at the top of your Skype application window.
Select "Search for Contacts" from the drop down menu. Fill in the fields with your friend's Skype name, email address or real name in addition to state, city, language, age, gender and country. Then click on the "Search" button.
Look through the results of your search for your friend. You can sort by Full Name, Skype Name, Country, City or Language by clicking the field headers.
If you believe you've found your friend, double click the name and then click "Add Contact."
Once you have friends on Skype, you'll want to know who is online and whether they are available for calls or chats. Like most other Skype features, this is quick, easy and takes just a couple of clicks.
Open your Skype application.
Locate your "Contacts" tab in the center of the Skype application window. The "Contacts" tab contains a silhouette of a person. Click on your "Contacts" tab.
Find the contact you wish to call or chat with. If your list of contacts is not sorted alphabetically, you can change this by clicking "View" from the horizontal menu at the top of the application window then clicking the "Sort Contacts by Name" option at the bottom of the pop-out window.
Look to the left of your contact's name. Do you see a talk bubble? This is your visual cue that will allow you to determine if your friend is online or not.
Open your Skype application and log in.
Click "View" from the horizontal menu along the top of your application window. Make sure the "View Status" bar in the menu that appears is checked. If it isn't, click it now.
Find your status bar, located along the bottom of your Skype window.
Click the downward facing arrow to view your options. Choosing the "Skype Me" option will allow Skype members that you do not know to contact you. As soon as you remove yourself from "Skype Me" mode, they will not be permitted to contact you unless you've added them to your contacts list.
A question mark in the talk bubble means that either you haven't shared your information with your contact or they haven't shared their information with you. Essentially, one of you hasn't decided to become friends yet. An "X" in a faded talk bubble signifies that your contact is offline or has chosen to remain invisible. A green talk bubble with a check mark inside indicates that your contact is online, ready for chatting by phone or computer. A green talk bubble with a white clock in it means your friend is online but away from his or her computer. If you see a gray clock on the green talk bubble, that means your friend is online but not available for chatting. A red circle with a white bar indicates your contact is online but does not want to be disturbed.