Sunday, August 17, 2014

Free Alternatives To Skype

The majority of Windows Phone users, what little there are, can no longer use Skype on their smartphones. And many people found in mid-August Skype was no longer working on their computers! For WinXP users, this is a disaster - many have systems that cannot upgrade to SP3 due to lack of disk space. No reliable workaround has been found (if YOU know of one that works, please link to it in the comments area below!) This is a sad testament to greed! Taking Skype away from people is a digital sin! Microsoft, with this action, becomes the “new Google.” Trying to force people to buy new software and hardware, forcing them to the cloud. So what now, people?

My co-workers tell me they like to use Google Hangouts. If you use gmail and you applied for and received a Google Voice telephone number, there should be a little camera icon in the left column of the gmail dashboard. You should be able to use your existing webcam configuration. I just tried it out a few minutes ago, and it works well. Of course, nothing compares to Skype as we knew it!

 I have been using a free messaging service from Asia. It is promoted as "the ideal combination of SMS, Twitter, Facebook, Skype and Instagram."  With over 235 million users a month. It's called "WeChat," it is a communication app from a Chinese company.

WeChat was introduced back in 2011 and quickly spread across the globe. This app is free to use, works with Cellular Data or WiFi, and comes with all standard features for an IM app. You can send instant messages, make high quality video calls and voice calls, among others.

Even though the WeChat user interface is not easy to grasp initially, you will eventually get accustomed to using it. It is also available for many mobile platforms and PCs with android emulator software installedl. It can be used on Blackberry, Symbian and Windows devices. The good thing is that it is a free app that has much functionality and (for now) no ads.

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