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Skype marks 10 years of shrinking the world

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Posted August 28, 2013
A woman communicates with her family abroad by using Skype, in Stockholm, on August 26, 2013

A woman communicates with her family abroad by using Skype, in Stockholm, on August 26, 2013
A woman communicates with her family abroad by using the Internet telephone system Skype, in Stockholm, Sweden, on August 26, 2013. Skype celebrates its 10th anniversary on Thursday.

If David Huang had left his native Taiwan for Sweden a generation ago, he would have taken a giant leap into the unknown.

Now, with the help of Skype, the 35-year-old businessman is able to reach relatives from his Stockholm home as easily as if they lived around the corner, and not half a world away.

“Skype has made work easier, but more important than that, it has enabled me to talk to my family whenever I feel like it,” he said.

Internet messaging service Skype, which celebrates its 10th anniversary on Thursday, has shrunk the world in profound ways that few could have foreseen in 2003.

A total of 300 million users make two billion minutes of online video calls a day. And in the surest sign of success, the brand name has been turned into a verb – a rare distinction shared by the likes of Xerox and Google.

In another sign of success, Skype has spawned competitors with a host of similar technologies, most importantly Apple’s FaceTime.

But revolutionary as Skype’s technology may seem, it didn’t start completely from scratch but built on existing communication technologies.

“We already had cheap international calling using the Internet,” said Martin Geddes, a leading Britain-based telecommunications consultant.

“The significance of Skype was and is the ‘Wow!’ experience of high definition voice, and the sense of ‘being there’ with your distant friends and family in a way not possible before.”

Read more at: Phys.org

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