Today VoIP is what text chat was in early 1990’s. Often in my teens I used wonder only if I could explain a bit further to my friend what I mean when I write that. Often words can be very cold while chatting even if you don’t mean it. Well love chatting and browsing for many of us that’s Internet and perhaps computer. Using software is like habit and our habits don’t change on day to day basis, however software do change on weekly basis. Computing technology is in it’s growth phase, the products that we have been using for past 10 years were in their first generation. We well in Love with MSN Messenger and I couldn’t thank Microsoft enough in 1997 for creating this product, but for me it’s time to move on cause I believe what I fell in love is no longer loving me. Things change with time so have I, in fact the whole world has and it’s time to say Goodbye and here is why.
I have been using Skype since version 2.5 was released some 2 months ago. It’s a product that is ready to be rolled into mainstream and it’s already one of the fastest growing communications client. The beauty about this client is that it just manages to save itself from being a bloatware, that a software is full of features most of them you don’t require. This makes it simple yet not bland. I remember using winks a lot when it was introduced in MSN 7.0 But with time I started finding them annoying and irritating and I haven’t used them much for a while, even most of my buddies don’t use them.
Features Skype pretty much comes with all the features you requite in a modern day client. The call and hang up buttons are pretty intuitive and you straight away know how to call your friend. Transportability of knowledge is a key feature of any good UI design and Skype scores here. The interface is simple and laid out in uniformity with any chat client of it’s previous generation. The Buddy list well laid out and you can see specific details of you buddy in a clear and simple way. However the features are a bit repetitive. Like “call” or “chat” options are repeated one time too many on the screens and in menu. This though could be useful for new user but can be obtrusive once you know the software. As expected the Windows version appear a bit short on aesthetics as compared to the Mac version. The chat UI is a beauty and it’s the best chat screen I have seen of all IM’s barring Adium, which is in another league.
Functionality Skype is pretty good on voice quality, however it plays up a bit slow connections. It uses it’s proprietary protocol that gives you a very secured connection. However there is a severe drawback here, it can hog on your bandwidth you are having a conference call with 3 or more people, but then that’s quite expected. So if you are below 512Kbps connection avoid multiple conference calls or else your comp’s going to go groggy. The call quality is excellent either calling between Skype or Skype to landline. Being in India I haven’t used the “Skype Out” feature to it’s full but it is quite credible. The highlight has to be the conference call ability and it’s very useful feature. Though, Skype projects itself more as a AV Chat Client, it’s IM chatting is one for the best you will come across. The emoticons are rather useful and are just perfect for your average chat, no frills but fulfilling functionality. The Video part again is not as good as voice quality but then that is technology issue, it must be said Skype gives the best AV Chat experience for a non-Mac client.
Cons The most irritating thing about Skype is that while you’re chatting in text you can’t see when your buddy is typing and that’s simply not acceptable. Skype has come up with various excuses but this but this is a major let down. Another major issue that I have come across is at times Skype can eat your bandwidth like hungry. This though has happened only on a few instances but it surely is a bug which the development team needs to address. The call connection can play up a bit at times and I have observed it’s down to particular bugs, but then again it’s better than most AV Chat clients barring a rather plane jane Google Talk.
All in all Skype 2.5 is a fantastic product and it’s ready to take on MSN Messenger. If all your chatting is done for communication purpose I think it’s time to give WLMessenger a boot. With exceptional sound quality and one of the best chat interface around Skype should be the default IM client.
Original Writing of Ishan Prakash