What is Skype?

With so much hype about Skype going on nowadays, many of us are wondering who, or what, is Skype? Where is Skype? How much does it cost?

Skype is a service launched in 2003, which allows you to communicate with other Skype users free of charge: it allows you to send and receive text messages, talk and have video calls. All you need is a computer connected to the internet. You download a program, you install it, you register a Skype user, and you are up and running. So far so simple, but then again, what is Skype then? Is it only software? When you read or hear comments about Skype's creators themselves, such as "Skype is not a phone" or that Skype is much better than a phone, or that it is not a replacement for your ordinary telephone service, you might end up scratching your head and asking yourself what is Skype all about. Well, there are many things you can do with Skype, and the basic service can be complemented in quite some ways. Everything will depend on your ongoing experience with Skype, and how do you want to use it.

Once installed, the program itself has the feel and look of any chat program. You can add contacts, block them, see it they are online, and communicate with them. You must have heard of a friend or relative who talks through Skype for free. Then, that is exactly what your friend or relative does: clicking on a contact that is online and talking once the call is answered. Millions of people have registered to the free service, shaping up a powerful network where the online users can be counted by millions worldwide. What is Skype up to with all this? Can they measure their success by millions of free users? Of course they can, since that network of free users form the client base that, sooner or later, will end up buying Skype credits. Now, what is "Skype credits": You load your Skype account with money, and that becomes your Skype credit, that you use for the paid features. You can also use your Skype credits in a "pay as you go" fashion when you make calls to landlines and mobile calls anywhere in the world. When you run out of credits you can load some more, or you can set your account to load credits automatically when your credits go under a certain point (careful with those automatic payments, experiment and use the service first)

There is a lot more to find out. You will soon want to know what is Skype-in, Skype-out or what is "Skype to go"? Those ones are paid features, and they are always coming up with something new, such as different plans or sending SMS messages to mobile phones around the world. As a new user, it will be enough to know that you can make calls to telephones and mobile phones around the world at very competitive rates (Skype-out) and that you can have a telephone number so that they can call you to your Skype user from anywhere in the world (Skype-in), also at competitive rates. Not all the extra features are paid though: there are many programs available that extend the capabilities of Skype. Many of those programs are free, and some of them are drivers that allow you to use devices like a USB phone.

You can download Skype at here: