Skype has developed into a popular social media service since its birth in 2003. As a company, it has seen a succession of parent companies, and while it still hasn’t reached that breaking point of profitability, its use and popularity (over 170 million users, including roughly 8 million premium customers) remain attractive enough for cash-rich corporations like Microsoft to invest in the future. 2011 has been a particularly active year for Skype, and the implications of new developments on the site are worthy of note. Below are the 5 milestones that Skype achieved this year that have driven changes in how people interact with this social media tool.
Group Video Chat
January 2011 – A listless economy, rising fuel, and therefore travel costs have proved a windfall for online meeting sites such as gotomeeting and Infinite Conferencing. Taking advantage of their own capabilities, Skype entered the video conferencing market with a premium product that can connect groups of three or more sites to the same feed for greater collaboration. One advantage Skype has is the number of users who’ve used Skype for one-on-one video conferencing who will be advocates and resources for Skype use in business.
Skype in the Classroom
March 2011 – For several years, teachers have been using Skype to connect their classrooms with those of others and to share ideas and lesson plans. Earlier this year, Skype formally launched ‘Skype in the Classroom’ to expand upon the existing collaborative activities among teachers while encouraging what might be called the globalization of interactive sharing of educational resources.
Microsoft acquires Skype
May 2011 – The 8.5 billion purchase of Skype by Microsoft is significant for U.S. users but has even greater impact in Europe. The implication of allowing users who now pay what many feel are outrageous roaming fees charged by European wireless companies are tremendous. International business travelers could ultimately be the greatest beneficiaries of Skype’s new parent company.
House of Representatives
June 2011 – While this year hasn’t been marked by widespread consensus in Congress, the House of Representatives seem to have overcome a number of issues to allow for the official incorporation of Skype in each office. Security issues and a recent, heightened attention to social media conduct have apparently been sufficiently addressed to allow members to utilize such features as video conferencing and internal chatting.
Facebook incorporates Skype
July 2011 – Following up their earlier collaboration with Facebook in which Skype users could contact friends on FB to share feeds, Skype launched a video chatting service on Facebook platform, this year. So far, the service is free, with users simply clicking on their Friends list to invite them to chat on Skype. Company officials have indicated that like other Skype users, phone calls would eventually cost a fee, but for now both social media firms seem to be benefiting from the alliance.
This is a guest post by Jesse Langley. Jesse is a professional writer and a former public school teacher, who writes for Colorado Technical University. He lives in Indianapolis and is a proud owner of several domesticated reptiles.