Many of us at work started using Skype to IM and to be able to look at each other while we talk. Skype allows voice, video chats and even allows you to share your desktop. While the desktop sharing is not so useful due to the visual quality, its just fine for lossy video and sound. The encrypted chats are a nice alternative to our internal, and proprietary, chat system which barely supports Macs. (Nearly half our group is using Macs now.) We still use WebEx for our larger meetings, presentations etc which also supports video and desktop sharing. With Web-Ex the desktop sharing is actually useable and you can have more than a two-way video conference. I believe WebEx supports up to four.? We also have a professional video/telepresence solution called LifeSize.
I'm thinking of getting my relatives to use Skype now too. It is so easy to connect with full voice and video. Skype is free to use so that cost of entry is a download and install.
As with e-mail, the web, and all your other Internet facing apps, there is an element of spam and phishing and other hazards to look out for. Just this morning I had a chat message from "Request Support" that indicated I had a "Windows" problem that needed my attention. Funny, because I don't use Windows anywhere!
I was a little surprised that I got this message because I thought that I had set permissions to only allow IM's from people in my contact list. I hadn't! So the first thing I did was change that:
The next thing I did was right click on "Request Support" and blocked them and I checked "Report abuse from this person":
Out of curiosity, in a sandboxed environment, I went the the web site this phishing scam was trying to get me to go to:
It produced a window that looked like a genuine Windows scanner of some sort, faked progress, then reported I had all sorts serious problems. Then they dump you to a "shopping cart" etc. etc. Nothing notable, really, just be ware that Skype has the same pitfalls the rest of the 'Net has. Set your permissions accordingly and you will be insulated from much of it. As always don't click links from strangers!
Feel free to add me to your Skype list!