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Remember back in the dark days before the Internet arrived, when you wanted to make an international phone call? First, you had to take out a bank loan to pay the extortionate charges that your phone company wanted to charge you. Then you dialed your number, and after getting cut off a few times, you finally manage to get through to the other caller. But they sounded so far away, as if they were underground, and the crackling on the line reminded you of an old gramophone record playing.  And being able to see them on screen?  Forget it. That was firmly in science-fiction futuristic land, in shows and movies like Star Trek and Star Wars.

But now, things have all changed, thanks to a company called Skype, and the rise of technology called VOIP How Does Skype Work? [Technology Explained] How Does Skype Work? [Technology Explained] Read More (Voice Over Internet Protocol). This allows you to speak over the Internet for either free or for very low cost, and video calls are now as common as muck. They are being used in so many different ways. For example, a few years back, before I joined MakeUseOf, I was using Skype to give English lessons to foreign students all over the world. The teacher (me) was here in Germany but my students could be either in Italy, Austria or Thailand.  Another frequent use of Skype is that the armed forces in Afghanistan and Iraq are using it to keep in touch with their families back home.

Our infographic today shows the rise of Skype and how it is being used today.  Let us know in the comments if you have a unique use for it, and where you see the technology heading in the future.

Infographic Source:
Image Source: CC Chapman

  1. Neil Harrington
    September 10, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Skype is still a great solution.

  2. Muhammad Ahmad
    July 29, 2012 at 7:11 am

    In Pakistan it costs me to call from my mobile to Saudi Arabia only 0.147$ or you can say about 15cents. But with skype it costs me to 28.8cents. That's the difference.

  3. Shawn Ashree Baba
    July 17, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    No doubt that Skype is a great application. Its a great way to communicate with others.

  4. Truefire_
    July 16, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Google + Hangouts are even better for group chat!

    • Saikat Basu
      July 17, 2012 at 8:51 am

      But then there's that limit of 10 on Hangouts, so it's not really ideal for larger group conferences. It also "hangs out" more in my opinion.

  5. Ben
    July 15, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    If you make a lot of international calls, nothing beats Skype cost wise.

  6. Irshaad Abdool
    July 15, 2012 at 9:30 am

    maybe one day, people will no longer use 'line' telephones and will only use Skype phones.. euuu.. they will need a DSL line, so.. the service providers can stop sobbing :P

  7. Paula
    July 15, 2012 at 7:28 am

    Very nice skype advertisement, and if I may add, very well deserved also. I am in Argentina and provide web design for US, I have a skype phone number + unlimited calls to US and Canada for only $5 per month. Like I said, very well deserved advertisement.

    • Saikat Basu
      July 17, 2012 at 8:52 am

      It is still the cheapest there is in terms of service quality and usage.

  8. Doc
    July 14, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    "You'll need: A computer with a built-in microphone; a Web cam" Funny, I've used a plug-in microphone and USB headsets before, and used Skype without a webcam, and Skype still works fine. You should probably also have speakers or a headset to hear the other person. Sloppy writing, IMHO.

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