Skype is a program to call your contacts worldwide for free via the Internet (VoIP, Voice over IP). The program can save you high phone bills. All you need is a PC, Tablet, or Phone with an internet connection, a headset or microphone, and Skype software. In 2011, Skype was acquired by Microsoft and now there is deep integration with Outlook and other Microsoft services. Skype is available for desktop, tablet, and mobile.
Free calls with Skype
If you have installed Skype on your PC, then you can make free calls to anyone that also has the software. The principle is simple: create a free Skype account, search by name and/or location to others who also have a Skype account, add these people to your Skype account and start calling them for free.
If your contacts are online, you can call them. When your contact answers you call, you can use your headset or microphone and speaker to unlimited talk to them.
Skype also offers the following features:
- Meeting with several people (videoconferencing)
- Video calls (webcam required)
- Calls and SMS to landlines and mobiles at a reduced rate (for this you need to buy a credit)
- Video calls with Facebook contacts
Skype is ideal for meeting new people and talking to them, private or for work. You can also toggle between calls and calls can be recorded. Facebook integration and group video calling are also possible.
Since Microsoft acquired Skype in 2011, you can also log in with Facebook and Microsoft accounts (Windows Live / MSN, Hotmail / Outlook.com) and the software is extensively integrated into the mail program Outlook (version 2010) and on the website of mail service Outlook.com. In the course of 2013, Windows Live Messenger (MSN) merged into Skype, which then became a program for online communication.
Since June 2015, there is also the web service Skype Web that allows you to chat and make video calls (for this you should have to install a plugin) from your browser.
See also: Skype login guide
Skype Mobile apps
Skype is also extremely popular on smartphones and tablets: the Android application is for instance already been downloaded hundreds of millions of times.
The Skype app has already been downloaded several hundred million times and is one of the popular apps in Google Play and App Store. Because Skype requires at least Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), the app can be used on almost any Android device. However, if you want to use the latest version of Skype, you need a device with a newer Android version.
With the Skype app you can send messages and make free internet calls. It can also be used with both a WiFi and 3G connection. The service is basically free, but you must pay for additional functionality. This is the case when you want to call landlines though this feature is only offered in a few countries.
Microsoft released Skype Qik in 2014. This app should act as a competitor for Snapchat. With Qik, you can send photos or videos up to 42 seconds long, which resembles the design of Snapchat. Distinctive is the function to respond to Qik messages through a gif. For example, you draw a face, record it and then send it as a gif file to your friends.
Download Skype for Windows, Mac OSX, Linux