The reality of today’s life: you are boasting to friends that your two-year old son called by Skype to his grandparents, and even managed to hang up by himself, and everybody’s reaction is – ‘Wow, your parents can use Skype!’ It is hard to find a person nowadays who has a computer with Internet access, yet never heard about Skype. Free chats, videocalls, conferences, playing games, sending files and many other options make it one of the most popular and well known ways of communicating with people all over the globe both for business and personally. There are a lot of programs that offer the same range of functions as Skype, yet this messenger is still top of the list. Yet it is important to bear in mind that some websites offering to download Skype for free bundle it with adware or other unwanted programs, and besides Skype itself contains a little ‘surprise’ for non-attentive users, so read on to learn how to install and use it safely!
Some of Skype’s advantages:
- Skype is extremely easy to use, and for communicating with people in your contact list all you need is to download the program and install it, create a free account, add people you want to talk to, and begin to chat.Voice and videochats are also possible; if you have a laptop you already have a mic and a camera integrated into it, and if you have a desktop you will need a webcam.
- Even though Skype is constantly updating (some might consider this a disadvantage), its interface does not change much, and can still be understood if you are used to the older version. Updates only take several minutes, so this is a positive thing.
- Skype allows to customize your profile and render certain information to your contacts even if you are not online: you can set a status, put an avatar picture, select the language of the program, change the fonts, choose if you want Skype to start automatically at your computer’s startup, show you as ‘not available’ after a certain number of minutes that you are not active, adjust sound settings, etc
- Skype is convenient and easy, and if it were not for ads popping up now and then, its interface could be named perfect.
- Skype is free, unless you need to call from your Skype to someone’s mobile number.
Same as any other program, Skype has some drawbacks, and here are some of them:
- If you are not attentive enough, you might end up with Yahoo toolbar installed into your browser, as the installation wizard of Skype suggests the installation of this toolbar and making Yahoo your default search engine. If you do now want this to happen, uncheck the corresponding box during the installation, and if you already have Yahoo toolbar that you want to get rid of – please refer to our instruction on how to uninstall it here.
- Skype, ever since it has been purchased by Microsoft, does not develop much for other platforms, e.g. Linux or Ubuntu. If you use Skype for Windows or Android, it works perfectly and you can use the full scale of its services, but when it comes to other OS, all you get is the older, ‘pre-Microsoft’ version of the messenger.
- Skype can be a perfect instrument for fraud, and it is not a rare occasion that people can hack the accounts in your contact list and write to you on behalf of ‘your friends’ asking for money. Also, the hacked accounts can send you links to malware, so be careful when receiving links and unusual requests from people you know, much less from strangers. Oh, and better check your privacy settings if you do not want to fall victim of fraudulent people, hackers, or even perverts. In your privacy settings you can select who can contact you, text you, send you friend requests, call you, videocall you, etc. This will save you a lot of trouble and headache, really!
- Some sources claim that Skype serves as a base for spying and surveillance systems, but we strongly believe that no method involving ciphering and deciphering information digitally, in writing, or in recording is safe and can secure your privacy: for sharing private things, it is always safer to use eye-to-eye contact.
- This is a completely subjective opinion, but to my mind, the version of Skype for Windows 8 is horrific. It is not that easy to use since the entire interface has been changed, and especially if you need to change your settings you might spend quite a lot of time searching for where to do so. Besides, there have been multiple complaints that Skype for Windows 8 misses calls from time to time. Anyway, if you are not happy with Skype for Windows 8, it is very easy to uninstall it and install the good old desktop version!
Talk to your friends and family for free with Skype! See you in our next posts.