I just ‘hung up’ with my wife and daughter who are over in Europe at the moment. I have been video calling them at least once a day for the past couple of weeks using Skype. Skype (if you live in a cave and don’t know) is a software application that allows you to make calls over the internet. It is free to call another computer and they charge a small fee to call to cell or landlines. If you and that person you are calling both have webcams and mic/speakers, which almost all new laptops have built in these days, you can video chat.
I love this service as i get to visually interact with my girls when talking to them and it makes the distance much more bearbale (again for free). Seeing my wife’s ever-expanding belly is so much better than just hearing about it as she tends to exaggerate ocassionally.
By no means is Skype unique. There seems to be a new, free video chat service popping up daily. Some others that i know about are: gmail video chat, msn messenger, ooVoo and ichat. Grandparents & grandkids, parents and their college age children, old friends once separated by great distances are all re-connecting on the cheap in real time with these services. I recently read that facebook will be adding a video chat function in the near future.
Now these sites are all set up for person-to-person or small group calling; i’m not talking about sexual deviant sites like myballsonyourchin.com or some such ‘chatrooms’, where sexual deviants with a webcam go to show off their bait-n-tackle in group circle-jerks. Though as technology progresses, so too will those types of forums. Everyone needs a hobby, right?
As i’m sure you know, Skype is owned by Ebay and they have been talking about spinning it off as it’s own seperate entity and taking it public in 2010. It has also been in the news recently due to a software licensing dispute with it’s original developers (fargin Estonians ; ) which may complicate the IPO offering next year. I think j commented on that on Fly’s blog last week.
I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on this upcoming IPO and any other comments related to voice over internet services, pros & cons of said services or any other thoughts that come to mind. Any ideas on stock plays where i can bank some coin?
I agree with The Fly’s 4G/smartphone thesis and am guessing that video calling to the other side of the planet via one of these free internet services will be a lot more mainstream in the near future. You pay ‘x’ amount for the data package of your provider but no other costs would be associated. Long gone are the days of MaBell charging you an arm & a leg to make an overseas call.
Of course, There have been a few times during my 30-40 minute calls where one of our cams freeze up or there is a slight delay in the sound but we simply hang up and call again. I can’t really complain as i think i mentioned, it’s free.