Skype is a convenient and inexpensive way to communicate. The service uses your Internet connection to help you chat with your friends online. The application is downloadable free from the official Skype website. The service can be used on mobile devices and a wide range of computer operating systems. Skype was established in 2003. By 2010, nearly 6.4 billion calls were made by its users. In the first half of 2010, nearly 88.4 billion minutes worth of calls were made by Skype users all over the world, according to Skype.com.
- Skill level:
Go to skype.com and download the Skype application.
Press the “Save” and “Launch” application buttons, as they appear on the screen.
Open a new account or sign in with an existing account. To open a new account, enter a name and password, your e-mail address and agree to the user terms and conditions by checking a small square box. Click “Create” to make a new account.
Log onto the new Skype account. You will be taken to a “Welcome” screen. Click “Find Your Friends” button. Search for contacts from your address book like a Yahoo or Outlook address book, if you like.
Select an address book and type in the user name and password. Skype promises not to hold onto these details. Skype will start looking for contacts automatically in the account you mentioned. If you want to add an individual user, enter his Skype name or e-mail in the “Find an Individual” space.
Click “Find Contact.” Skype will populate a list of all the matching results. Select the one that you think is your contact, and click “Add Contact.”
Type in a quick message to remind your contact of how they know you. Click “Send.” Before you can start communicating with anyone, they have to authorise you as a contact.
Click on the “Help” menu, and choose “Welcome Screen.” Click on “Check Sound Works.”
Click “Speakers” and click the big round green button. If you hear a jingle, your speakers are working with Skype. If not, check your computer’s audio settings.
Click the “Test Microphone” button and say something in the microphone. If the green bar on the testing screen moves, your microphone is working. If not, choose an appropriate microphone from the drop-down menu next to the sound bar.
Click on the “Test Video” button, if you have a webcam connected. You should see a live video feed instantaneously; if not, check your video settings.
Double-click on a contact in your list to open a chat window. You can now send and receive messages.
Click on the “Call” button next to your contact’s name to make a call. Your contact will have to receive the call to talk with you.
Click on the green button with a webcam symbol, located next to the call button, for a video-chat. Your contact may not be able to see you if she is using Skype phone or Skype from a cell phone. Similarly, you may not see your contact if she doesn't have a webcam.
Tips and warnings
- To make and receive phone calls from Skype, subscribe to the Skype-In or Skype-Out service. You also can make and receive international calls with this service. To know more about Skype-In-And-Out service, go to skype.com.
- All those who accept your request will be shown in your Contacts List. If the blob next to any of your contact’s name is green, it means the contact is available. A red blob means he is busy.
- With Skype, you can share screens, take a snapshot, send and receive files, make conference calls with up to 10 people and leave voice mails.
- You can buy dedicated Skype handsets, and plug them to your Internet and talk online using a handset.
- Skype can’t be used to make emergency calls. The service is not a replacement for your regular home or cell phone.
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