Entrepreneur Niklas Zennstrom was onto something when he created Skype back in 2003. This VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) software enabled consumers and commercial business, no matter where they were located; the ability to communicate via voice, instant messages, or via video while also providing great features like file sharing, group video calling, and address book management.
Over the years, Skype has become a mainstay for those looking for VOIP services with additional innovative components. What has made Skype such an excellent choice is the applications ability to offer several ways to communicate via cell phones with no charge for their services. No other service may seem to offer all of the same attributes as Skype, but there are many alternatives that may work just as well and depend on what you are looking for, a few may fair better for you.
How would you like to have a phone number that you can use as a “dummy number” to give to friends and clients that you don’t want to have your actual number? Then Google Voice will change your life. You are provided with transcribed voice messages as well as free phone calls and text messages anywhere in the United States and Canada. Google has added some pretty cool features to this service including: Google voice mail for your primary number (real number), SMS forwarding which allows you to receive your voice mails in text messages using your email account, Google Number Change which gives you the ability to change your Google number if you would like to with a low cost of only ten dollars, and my favorite feature “Do Not Disturb”. When you are ready to talk face to face, use the Google Chat Plug-In, and you have the ultimate alternative to Skype. Now that’s a great service.
Pidgin Instant Messaging Client
Pidgin instant messaging client is open source multi-platform software. Originally released in 1998, one of the key features of this software is encrypted instant messaging called OTR (Off the Record). This technology is great for those they need good security features when using IM’s. Using a library called Libpurple, a consumer can log onto various instant messaging programs simultaneously. This software also has some great plugin features like Idle Maker; this is for those rude friends that continue to send messages even when you are away from your computer. You can set up Idle Time to fool your friends into thinking you are away and hopefully they will give you some peace. If you lock your computer and forget to change your status to “Away” you can use Lock n Roll; which automatically does it for you when the computer locks. There is even a shorten URL plugin you can use which will work automatically when you are attempting to share links with others. Pidgin is great for those with an instant messaging fetish.
Apple seems to have cornered the market on technological advancement when it comes to computers and music media. So, of course, they would have to come up with a software application to rival Skype. Say hello to FaceTime! This application became a part of the Apple lineup in 2010. The video calling app is made to work in concert with other Apple products. It is a great way to keep in touch with family and friends who also have the I-Phones, Mac Computers or I-Pads. With one click video calling and high definition display; you can share an almost perfect video conferencing experience with the entire family. So it looks as if Apple has done it again.
Although Skype has become a name synonymous with voice over internet protocol; there are many other great Skype alternatives available. From Hi-Def video calling to multiple instant messaging the landscape is full of other sources of communications software and applications. Take a look around, and you may find a few that make Skyping look like child’s play. So test a few of them out.