Social networking services have been popping up all over the place, with most of them presenting their own take on the social networking game. Of course, with so many services out there, features are bound to overlap one another.
One social networking service that’s trying to catch people’s attention is the weirdly named ooVoo. It’s a social video call app that is available for both the Android and iOS operating systems. OoVoo is getting very popular. More →
On the heels of Google unleashing Google Voice to the Gmail masses, it looks like Skype is ready to up the ante by announcing that it will be experimenting with a new video chat feature that will please Skypepoholics everywhere.
Today weâ€™ve released an update to Skype for Windows. The second beta of Skype 5.0 brings a number of changes both outside and in â€“ most importantly, you can now make group video calls with up to 10 people. It also welcomes in a fresh new look, as well as increased stability and better quality when making group video calls. (Skype Business Blog)
Note: Emphasis mine.
Although one can make a video call via Google Chat (which will probably be incorporated within Google Voice in the future), you can currently only chat with one person at a time.
While Skype’s group video chat feature isn’t free (there is a trial period before you have to pay), this feature will probably appeal to businesses and families who have employees or relatives spread all over the globe, respectively.
While group video chats will not appeal to everyone, it should help the nimble company maintain its lead against the Google Goliath (the latter who seems intent on declaring war against everyone).
Skype and Nokia’s partnership has been going for quite some time now. In fact, their plans of integrating Skype to Nokia devices has been discussed as early as February last year. Although Nokia devices were able to get a default Skype client it is only now that it is finally made available for majority of Nokia’s smartphones – specifically those running on Symbian ^1.
Skype for Symbian will let you to use Skype even while on the move, either through WiFi, GPRS, EDGE or 3G. Â Skype for Symbian is now available for download at the Nokia Ovi Store and you can install it on your smartphone if it belongs to the following long list of Nokia devices that support it:
Nokia N97, Nokia N97 mini, Nokia X6, Nokia 5800 XpressMusic and Nokia 5530 and the following non-touch devices: Nokia E72, Nokia E71, Nokia E90, Nokia E63, Nokia E66, Nokia E51, Nokia N96, Nokia N95, Nokia N95 8Gb, Nokia N85, Nokia N82, Nokia N81, Nokia N81 8 Gb, Nokia N79, Nokia N78, Nokia 6220 classic, Nokia 6210 Navigator, Nokia 5320.
If your current Nokia phone is any of those devices listed, then you can enjoy the following features of Skype on your device:
Make free Skype-to-Skype calls to other Skype users anywhere in the world
Save money on calls and texts (SMS) to phones abroad.
Send and receive instant messages to and from individuals or groups
Share pictures, videos and other files.
Receive calls to their existing online number
See when Skype contacts are online and available to call or IM
Easily import names and numbers from the phoneâ€™s address book
Of course before you go on a Skype holiday, make sure that you are subscribe to an unlimited data plan, since even though Skype-to-Skype call is free, you are still using up air time of your mobile carriers.
You may download Skype for Symbian by following this link.
Verizon Wireless and Skype have just announced their partnership that will give U.S. customers more value for their bucks if they are existing Verizon data subscribers. While for those who are still not on Verizon, this could probably be a good come on get a Verizon mobile data plan.
The new service will bring Skype to Verizon Wireless phones sometime in March. With this new service, you will be able to call around the globe via VoIP through, while your friends can communicate with you via the same route as well. The new exclusive and easy-to-use Skype mobile service will be initially available on several Verizon Wireless phones including BlackBerry Storm 9530, Storm 2 9550, Curve 8330, Curve 8530, 8830 World Edition and Tour 9630. It will also be supported by Droid, Droid Eris and Motorola Devour.
Specifically, the service will let you:
make and receive unlimited Skype-to-Skype voice calls to any Skype user around the globe on Americaâ€™s most reliable wireless network;
call international phone numbers at competitive Skype Out calling rates;
send and receive instant messages to other Skype users; and
remain always connected with the ability to see friendsâ€™ online presence.
So basically, this new Skype service is practically extending your data calling plans plus the fact that you can call anyone through Skype, anytime, anywhere.
Verizon Wireless will start offering Skype through 3G service sometime in March. You can sign up for more informationÂ here.
If the idea of talking to the camera at the back of your iPhone and then turning your iPhone as soon as you’ve spoken to see the person you’re talking to, sounds cool to you, then you might be glad to know that Fring has just enabled video calling and VoIP through 3G on their iPhone app.
Actually, this was a result of the recent announcement made by Apple opening the iPhone’s gates to VoIP calling. Interestingly, Apple made this decision even if it will affect AT&T’s revenues.
To make free voice or video calls using Fring, you simply need to fire up your Fring iPhone app and hope that the message “voip calls are not allowed…” does not appear anymore. If it does, just click “more”, then “go offline” and then open Fring again.
Meanwhile, Fring was not the first iPhone app developer who immediately took advantage of iPhone’s decision to allow VoIP calls on the iPhone. A few days ago, iCall also went live, allowing free VoIP calls for iPhone users through 3G.
Both Fring and iCall if embraced by mobile phone users would definitely make Â the Â VoIP through 3G market more exciting. Expect more mobile apps that will allow VoIP through 3G to be developed and hope that mobile carriers will not disallow this feature even if it affects part of their revenues.
Here’s an interesting data just released by TeleGeography showing Skype getting 50% increase in its share of international calling minutes in 2009 from data of 2008. Skype managed to post a 12% market share in international calling minutes in 2009 from 2008′s 8%.
This interesting because for awhile I thought Skype has already lost its luster. With so many mobile apps that enables you to do free international calling via VOIP such as Fring and other Skype rivals including iPhone applications.
So it is but laudable that according to the Telegeography report Skype was able to accelerate Skype-to-Skype international calling minutes at the rate of almost 100%.
Over at the Skype Journal, Skype’s Sten Tamkivi gave a comprehensively interesting recount of how Skype has managed to achieve its current position right now after being a startup in 2003. Indeed, despite the trials and travails that Skype have passed through, it’s amazing that it is still alive and going strong.
Are you still using Skype to communicate with business contacts located worldwide? Or have you used other free mobile VOIP applications? I’ve got Skype in my Mac, Desktop PC, netbook and even iPhone and yet I don’t really get to use Skype Â that much. I still prefer to communicate with business contacts through the old email system.
As if awakening from a deep slumber, Skype suddenly comes back to life and announced just in time for CES 2010 their latest offering - 720p HD video calls on Windows PC as well as Skype enabled-HDTVs. Â Oh wait, are you still using Skype? If yes, then read to find out what these announcements are all about. If you’ve stopped using Skype a long time ago, this might be the right time to start using it again.
New Skype HD Video Calling
Although not really a full 1080p, Skype’s new 720p HD-quality video calling feature at 1280×720 resolution and up to 30 fps is enough to give you smoother and richer video calls. Â To use this feature, you need a new HD webcam, PC with at least 1.8GHz dual-core processor, high-speed broadband connection and of course Skype 4.2 Beta for Windows. In case you’re wondering what HD webcams to get, be sure to check out announcement from faceVision and InStore Solution during the CES 2010. These two manufacturers are said to be coming out with new HD webcams that will work fine with Skype. These webcams will set you back for around $99 to $140.
Skype Video Calls on HDTVs
Now this one made me feel bad since I just bought a 32-inch Samsung HDTV. I should have waited for LG and Panasonic’s new HDTV models that will have an embedded Skype Software. Anyway, Skype’s video calling on HDTV will let you do the following:
Free Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls
Calls to landline or mobile phones at Skype’s low rates
Receive inbound calls via user’s online Skype number
Voice conference calls with up to 24 other parties
Support for 720p HD video calls
Are we all excited about this now? I do hope so that this new features will revive the sparkle that Skype once had.
Google Voice sounds like the best thing to happen to telephony since the cellphone, but it does lack one important ingredient: a softphone client. That’s about to change as Google acquires Skype competitor Gizmo5.
The obvious synergies of this deal make a Hell of a lot more sense than eBay buying Skype four years ago — and will probably produce a ton less drama. Gizmo5 may not have Skype’s enormous userbase, but Google clearly bought the VoIP service for its technology and not its userbase. Once Gizmo5 is fully integrated into Google Voice, expect Mountain View to throw its marketing muscle behind the combo.
New signups for Gizmo5 have been suspended, but expect its VoIP features to make their way into Google Voice and Google Talk in a year or two.
Some months ago we covered Nimbuzz for the iPhone. The company now announced that they will also offer their service, even without available 3G or Wi-fi, after they closed a deal with Belgian service Voxbone. Thanks to the new offer from Nimbuzz, VOiP and Skype now also are available over 2G. The service will offer a local area number to call over 2G and then Skype contacts and VOiP is available. With the Skype application for iPhone you need to be connected to a Wi-fi network.
Nimbuzz is also available for several other smart phones such as the Nokia N97 and phones based on the Symbian platform.