Skype 4 beta post series

Oct 27, 2008

I had steered clear of Skype 4 until now. I wanted them to get through a first few betas first before I would give it a run myself. I generally have a personal policy of not running anything beta on my desktop these days, but I thought I'll make an exception for Skype 4 on Windows, especially given that it is not my primary Skype. I mostly live on Mac these days, with Windows running in Parallels.

As Skype 4 is marketed as a big change, the urge finally overwhelmed me this weekend to go and give it a run myself to see what the changes are about. And I thought I'll capture the feedback in posts like this. Now, usually when I have reviewed software, I have written one long mega-post that takes ages to write, and that is boring and hard to read and many people stop before they got to the end.

So, instead of doing that, I thought I'll do a series over, let's say, this week, where I cover exactly one thing per post. Be it a feature or a more conceptual question.

Now, as you'll go through this series, two important things about my perspective are...

  • This is the first major version of Skype where I was not involved in making it. So I don't have a lot of insider info, just the public download and public websites. This also lets me approach the UI with a fresh mind, which is very different from an insider perspective. Often when you are involved in making something, you become so immersed that you can't see it from outside. Being immersed is good, but seeing it from outside simply has another perspective.
  • I'll be making references to Skype for Mac because that is what I mostly use these days. I mostly use voice calling (free and SkypeOut) and chats, with the very occasional video call. So I'm somewhat Mac-biased and maybe my perspective would be different if I actually used Skype on Windows daily. But I have had Skype 3 for Windows running all the time and have occasionally done things with it so it's not like I don't know what's going on in Windows.