Skype for Windows 8

When Skype was first launched in 2003 it revolutionized social media.

Skype for Windows 8 IconBringing friends and loved ones who are separated by distance together again, and changed the face of business communications forever. When Skype moved to release Windows 8 there was no surprise that they would be hard at work pushing the boundaries once again. With new and improved features, they have created a program that takes the simplicity, and ease that Skype offers, dusted it off and made it even more user friendly.

Skype has given consumers the ability to share in the pleasure of a face-to-face communications. With Skype for Windows 8, users will find loved ones and work contacts at the center of their experience. Upon log in, recent conversations and calls that are most frequented are presented to the user for quick and easy access. Consumers are also presented with the ability to share photos and activities with other Skype users, giving them a peak into their lives. They are able to build an online version of speed dial by giving the consumer the ability to create a favorites list of those they contact frequently. This in turn makes the Skype experience even simpler by having your loved ones at your fingertips without having to rummage through a contacts list and address book, even though those have been upgraded as well.

Skype since the beginning has taken modern, and user friendly to a whole new level. With Skype for Windows 8, they have created a program that can only be described as simple elegance. Following the Windows 8 appearance, Skype has adopted the modern chunky square pane that is easy to find. This makes it easy to explore, while still making sure users don’t miss calls.

When selecting the video users are sent to a defaulted setting, placing the video into full screen mode. It is possible to manually change this to carry on a text chat conversation on the side as well. This makes it so users are able to text chat, video chat, and use other programs all at the same time. Skype’s new screen share makes it possible for both the user and their contact to view your screen at the same time you are able to be face-to-face with them

Another fantastic perk to the new Skype for Windows 8 is the ability to use much less battery power. As a matter of fact even if Skype is running users aren’t using any of their processing power. This feature makes this version of Skype very appealing to tablet users.

With Skype for Windows 8, users have the ability to receive video, calls, and texts while away from the app. Windows will promptly notify the user once they have received a call, video or message in real time, making it easier for you to get in contact with. Because of the Windows 8 touch screen ability consumers are able to keep track of recent calls and conversations by sliding down from the top of the screen.

Even though the face-lift was a much-appreciated surprise to consumers, they were shocked to find the video and call quality was left practically untouched. While there seems to be mixed reviews on the audio quality the main consensus seems to be that although it is manageable users would like to see some improvements in the future.

All of the new additions are thrilling to Skype users everywhere. They have created a program that is easy to use no matter if you are working with a touch screen, keyboard or mouse. As technology is being pushed to new extremes, I am delighted to see Skype is modernizing while keeping the user friendly quality consumers have fallen in love with.

Download LINE

LINE IconLINE is the latest entry into the cross-service instant messaging world.

What started out as a mobile application to provide instant messaging and free voice calls to users on the same service has evolved into an application that can be used on PC with even more features.

The first thing you’ll notice about LINE is the intuitive but simple interface that it offers. You won’t get lost in the features that it provides, nor will you find that the interface is too simple.

LINE messenger may be an application that was developed for smart phones, but the developers really knew what they were doing when they ported the application for PC use.

The greatest draw of LINE is the fact that it makes calling another user of the LINE network simple. It exists as an alternative to Skype and other VoIP applications, which may provide troublesome issues and poor call quality for some users. The service provided by LINE appears to be top-notch and may work better for some users.

While the messenger is compact, you still get a number of buttons at the top of the application that allow you to personalize the application to your liking while still being able to manage your conversations with friends. You can configure it to show conversations at the bottom in a way similar to how other instant messenger applications function with tabbed conversations.

The beauty in the way that LINE works as an instant messaging application is directly related to the simplicity involved with the friends list. Initiating a conversation with someone is as simple as double-clicking on their name, but you can hover over your friends to throw up a small box that will give you a preview of your friend’s profile.

You can see their name, their display picture and a myriad of other things that would otherwise be hidden or resized to the size of ants with other applications.

From this pop-up, you can access other functions like chat, initiating a call or viewing the local time for your friend. You can also view their time line to see status updates in a way similar to the current version of Skype, but in a way that seems to be less convoluted and clad with advertisements.

LINE offers the same options that most instant messenger clients allow. You can create chat conversations, groups, and share images or video. The unique feature that LINE allows is the use of stickers. You can use them in place of emoticons or stick them on friend’s profiles. For users familiar with MSN messenger, they act much like shared emoticons used to.

Overall, LINE seems to be a combination of most modern instant messaging applications. It doesn’t provide the same amount of customization as clients like Pidgin allow with plugins, but it does make for a compact and nifty application. Couple this with the modern functions like VoIP provided with LINE, and you can quickly see why LINE has been growing in popularity ever since it was released for PC users.

Download Skype

Skype iconSkype is a service that allows users to send text messages, call and video chat with other users.

You can download Skype here.

The service is now a part of Microsoft and is able to be integrated with Windows 8 in order to make it easier for users to make calls and send messages from their desktop.

Users who utilize the service to call other users online are not charged for the service. People who would like to use Skype to call landlines and mobile phones need to pay a subscription fee for this option. Monthly subscription fees range from $2.99 to $13.99, and users are given the option to call international family members and friends for a set monthly fee. Skype is typically more affordable than traditional phone services. This is especially true when users are making international calls.

The newest version of Skype features a simplified registration process that allows new users to get started more quickly. Integration with Facebook and Hotmail gives users the option to use accounts associated with either of these websites to sign up for a new Skype account. Contacts can also be synced in Skype to give users access to contact information for the people they want to get in touch with without having to go through the hassle of gathering this information on a case-by-case basis.

Skype Premium makes group video calls a possibility. A monthly fee of $9.99 can make a long-distance family reunion or a conference call with cross-country branches possible. Group calls can include up to 10 people, but it is recommended that users limit their group calls to five people for the best video quality. Users who opt for Skype Premium also eliminate all ads and gain access to live customer support in case the service does not work as expected.

The quality of video calls depends on the capabilities of the computers being used for video chatting. It is recommended that users have a high-speed broadband connection for Skype use. A minimum connection speed of 4 Mbps is needed to eliminate interruptions and maintain quality throughout a video call.

Free Skype apps are available for all operating systems. Skype is even compatible with select types of smart televisions and home phones.

The bottom line is that Skype is an ideal method of staying in touch without spending a lot of money. Free online video chatting is a great way for family members and friends to catch up. Low-cost subscription plans even let people stay in touch with their loved ones when their family members or friends do not have Internet access.

 

Download Tango

Screenshot of Tango MessengerIf you’re looking for a versatile, all-in-one messaging and video calling app that outshines the rest, look no further than Tango.

It has more features than most other video calling apps. Best of all, all video calls, audio calls, and text messages are 100% free and do not use your calling or text plan, and you can call and text internationally for free, provided you’re using Wi-Fi or an unlimited data plan.

Tango is supported on Windows PCs, Windows 7 Phones, Android phones and tablets, and Apple iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad devices. Creating an account is fast and easy, and you don’t need to create a username or password; instead, your Tango account is linked to your e-mail address and phone number, which also allows people who know you and also have Tango to contact you. If you want to invite someone who has your contact info saved in their phone to Tango with you, you can send them a text or e-mail from the Tango Invite tab. Once they download the app you can contact them with Tango and enjoy the many features the program has to offer.

One of the many interesting features Tango has is Tango Surprises, fun animations that can be sent during a video call or text message session, if you want to add a personalized touch to your communications. Also, you can play games together when calling, and share photos and videos with a central photo gallery, edit photos with filters and text, and even send music clips through Spotify’s extensive song library. You can even send a digital card to those you care about to let them know they are in your thoughts. And messaging and calling doesn’t have to be one on one; you can set up Group Chats with as many friends as you want.

Tango also offers very high quality video calls over 3G, 4G, or Wi-Fi. However, video calls may drop or have slow connection speeds over 3G or 4G, which is why it is recommended to switch to Wi-Fi when at home or the office, and use 3G or 4G when away from a trusted Wi-Fi connection. And as previously mentioned, calls and texts via Tango are always free if using Wi-Fi or an unlimited data plan. If your plan is limited, you’d be charged whenever you go over your monthly limit. Tango will also introduce a premium paid service with more features later on.

All in all, Tango is a versatile, all-in-one free social app with lots of capabilities.

Download Viber for Windows

Screenshot of Viber for WindowsViber for Windows is the desktop installation of the popular app.

Viber is a multipurpose tool for communicating online through voice over Internet protocol. The desktop version is available for the most recent versions of Windows although the feature set is different for Windows 8. Viber is free to use. One thing to note is that the desktop is not a standalone application. The Viber app must be installed on a smartphone for the desktop software to work.

Viber for Windows is fast and easy to install. Account creation for first-time users simply involves entering a phone number and then choosing an account name. Viber allows users to create a detailed profile that includes a picture and personal information. Using a Facebook login will automatically create a matching Viber profile based on the Facebook data. One drawback to this easy installation is that accounts are bound to phone numbers. This means changing a phone number requires creating a new account.

Viber for Windows is fully synchronized with the smartphone specified during installation. The software automatically downloads all the contact information from the phone. The program identifies any contacts that are already Viber users and clearly marks them. While the full synchronization is simple and useful, it also has a downside. Synchronization works both ways. Deleting unwanted contacts from the desktop software will delete them from the phone as well. There is no way to keep contacts on the phone but not in the Viber desktop.Viber for Windows excels at making voice and video calls. The voice calls are free to any other person using Viber. The call quality is very good. The latest versions of the software allow for high-definition audio calls. The video calling feature is currently available in a beta form. It is still very effective and provides a smooth image when the service is operating at full capacity. The most unique feature of Viber for Windows is that it can transfer an active call to another device. Calls through the desktop can be transferred to a smartphone at any time.Viber has a very easy to use and simple messaging component. Users can send free text messages to other Viber accounts. It is also possible to send picture messages and video messages. Viber for Windows uses real Internet data packets to transmit information and not the short messaging service protocol. This allows for a wider range of options when sending and receiving messages. Viber for Windows even supports colorful stickers in messages.Viber for Windows is a solid program for texting, voice calls and video calls. Video calls are not available on the Windows 8 version yet. Additionally, Viber for Windows does not support call waiting. It does support conference calling. Anyone who is looking for a stable, free and simple program for online communications should try Viber for Windows.

 

Skype Journal is my independent take on communication, collaboration, and platforming, strategy, technology and the future of work.