Off for Holidays

Tomorrow i leave for Brasil with my 3 sons, for 4 weeks. This is perhaps the last time i travel with the 3 of them in view of their age (22, 20 and 18). And i go to a country i know quite well, because my kids have the double Belgian-Brazilian nationality, and we have been there several times.

I will use Skype in Brasil in Internet caf├ęs or in the house of friends, to contact my family in Belgium. Brasil is one of the bigger Skype Users Countries.
I don't know if i will blog while on holidays, but i come back for sure.


Skype stops loving MySpace?

I played around with the new 4.0 beta version. It is still very beta of course, but, apart from the ugly or missing things, there are some nice things in it. Especially the first Welcome Screen, where you can test very easily if Skype is working. Very useful for first time users.

But, what caught my attention is that when playing around with the hidden emoticons, there is one missing. The first image (on top) is an extract of the chat window of the 3.8 version. The second image, at the bottom, is the same chat text and result, and the (myspace) code for the hidden emoticon doesn’t work anymore! Is there some hidden message behind this? Is the deal between MySpace and Skype still valid?
And there isn’t neither an (Ebay) hidden emoticon from what i know!


The new version and numbers

Don’t download the new 4.0 Skype beta version (i will not post the link) unless you are an experienced user, because there are some vital functions missing, see here in the release notes.

What I can’t miss is, and it is temporarily (i hope) missing in this version are (between others):
  • Ability to turn alerts off
  • History
  • Contact groups
The new version installation file is is 24.7 Mbyte big, compared to the 21.3 Mbyte of the previous 3.8 version.

What pisses me off, and this is not related to the new version, is that Josh Silverman, CEO of Skype, says in a video where he promotes the new version: “To our community of over 300 million users all around the world, thank you very much for your passion”.

Stop the bullshit marketing talk Josh! You DON’T have 300 million users, you have perhaps 35 million users, that is a big difference, see also my very recent blog post here. Shame on you!


Recognition - thank you Jaanus!

In the beginning i collected Skype data out of personal interest to follow up the phenomenal growth of Skype. Later, i provided my data to Skype Journal, because it was fun to contribute to some discussions.

And, about two years ago i began to blog myself, for recognition. Indeed, you blog hoping that some people will read it.

Yesterday, another blogger made a reference to my blog. It happened several times in the past, but when it comes from the former main blogger and Skype Staff Jaanus Kase, this is indeed the kind of recognition i love! This means at least that some (former) Skype Staff acknowledge that my analysis is often correct!

He was telling the Skype and Firefox worlds yesterday that perhaps Skype has the world record of downloads in one single day, see his post here: Firefox 3 download day on June 17 …

My answer to his implicit question … The maximum number of Skype downloads in a 24 hours period was:
  • 1.180.000 on November 4, 2006, or
  • 2.700.000 on November 19, 2007.
This is based on my data samples. As it are samples, the Skype download record could even be higher. Only Skype can tell!

So, will Firefox break that record today? Perhaps they will do it!

One good point for Firefox compared to Skype: they release their 3.0 version as well for Windows, Mac OS as Linux. Skype Mac and Linux versions are always lagging behind the Windows version!


Skype User’s Holiday

The beginning of the year begun very promising concerning the concurrent Skype users online. In a speed record of 42 days we passed from 11 million to 12 million people online at peak time.

As my regular readers know, there are some fluctuations, resulting in less people online at:
  • “GMT”-night
  • Weekends
  • National holidays of bigger Skype countries (USA, Brasil, UK, …)
  • Christmas and New Year Period
  • Northern Hemisphere Summer Period
The graph below represents my samples of concurrent people online since the early beginning of Skype, and it seems we are entering in summer recession.
  • The points marked 1, 2, 3 and 5 are the Northern Hemisphere summer periods of 2005 till 2008.
The next “million milestone” will most probably not be reached before September. This is deceptive. Indeed, the promising “start of the year” mentioned above seems to have been a “one shot”.

All the new “features” added by Skype in the last months, including the number recognition launched some weeks ago were not spectacular enough to attract bunches of new users. This doesn't mean those features were not nice. I would even say the Skype client has improved in the last months: less bugs, more stability, better quality.

Skype continues to grow, this i am quite sure. But not at the same speed as their best year 2006, where almost 4 million “peak concurrent users” online were added! Let’s us meet in September again to witness the 13 million milestone.


Complaining again

I already complained about it in the past, in "Respect my choice": i got an e-mail from Skype for one of my unused user accounts. My language settings for this account are those of the embedded image on the left: English!

The mail I got is …

Why? Does Skype suppose there is only one language in Belgium? In fact we have three official languages, in proportional order: Dutch, French, German. And we have quite a lot of immigrants speaking Arabic, Turkish, English and other languages. Other countries also have several languages, like Switzerland, or even Estonia (some people speak Russian there) and United Stated (Spanish?).

The e-mail of Skype shows a complete lack of respect for their customers concerning language settings and choices! I personally don’t mind, but i assure you some fanatic or extremist people will leave Skype after such a mistake, and not only in Belgium!

Anyway, one good point: i tried to download the newest release of the Skype client, and this time the downloaded version was indeed the newest version.

300 million user ACCOUNTS

Have a look at that quite interesting paper on why Google should invest in new acquisitions and why it should disinvest in Skype: Will eBay Go Shopping?.
But, when will Skype stop to claim it has 276 million users? It are more than 300 million user ACCOUNTS right now, not USERS, according to Skype.

I have 20 user accounts (some spare for family members) but i am only one user!

See why user is NOT the same as user account in some of my previous posts, and here in (if i remember) the first one: How many users does Skype have today? (April 2006), and see the estimate of real (or active) Skype users here: Borderless Communicator.


MeBeam 16 + Skype

The Australian Ashod Apakian did it again. He is playing around with video conversations over the internet, and is a real freak! His first creations, in 2005, had the name WigiWigi. Nice name. And it was high quality video, never seen before. His new creation is called MeBeam. I tested it with two computers on my desk and another one downstairs with my youngest son.
Well great:
  • Video conferencing up to 16 persons
  • It is launched through Skype!
  • You don’t need to download anything, a FlashPlayer enabled webpage is enough!
  • And your videoconferencing contacts only have to click on a link in the Skype chat window!
The rest, well, read it here: Multi party video for Skype