Impacts of Skype growth

SkypeJournal guest blogger Jean Mercier has an interesting story about the continuing growth of Skype.

Stats on numbers of downloads of the app you install on your computer to actually use the service – now approaching 300 million according to a graph in Jean’s post – plus numbers and commentary on a topic I found especially interesting: growth in the number of Skype users logged in to the service at any one time.

According to Jean’s post, that number hit the 6 million mark on the 27th of March. That made me look at the bottom right-hand corner of the Skype app that I have running (a new version for Windows was released today, incidentally) and, at about 5pm CET, it showed this:

First time I’ve noticed that.

Jean goes on to talk about where most Skype users are – Western Europe and North and South America, he says – and the peak time in a given day when the most Skype users are logged in. That appears to be around 4pm GMT (6pm CET and 9am Shel’s time in California) and later.

Why is that interesting to me? Well, that’s about the time Shel and I start recording FIR, our bi-weekly podcast, over Skype. Could that peak load of users be causing a strain on the internet/P2P network somewhere that impacts the quality of our Skype call as Shel hears it (he does the actual recording at his end) and as listeners to our podcast may then notice in the MP3 file? We’ve experienced intermittent poor call quality in recent shows.

I’m asking the question, by the way, not providing the answer :)

Anyway, Skype has been an essential part of our podcast since we started it in January last year. But in last Monday’s show, we used a different VoIP app for the first time – Gizmo.

I’m not convinced it will do a better job than Skype, although Shel’s the better judge of that. Plus, I have a lot invested in Skype (meaning, SkypeIn numbers, voicemail, Linksys Skype phone, etc) so any alternative would have to be extremely compelling to make me consider switching. And from where I sit here in Europe, I still don’t see anything else at all compelling compared to Skype.

Yesterday, the FT published two pretty interesting features about Skype.

The first one, an interview with Skype CEO Niklas Zennestrom, is interesting to learn of some of the rather ‘ordinary’ organizational issues that a CEO has to address in any company and especially one that is experiencing rapid growth.

The second could be quite contentious as it speaks of Skype text messaging being censored in China. Remember the Google censorship in China issue a few months ago? No easy answers but loads of opinions.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Dave Briggs

    I have been looking into Skype recently, it seems like a really great service. My main problem is that I don’t have a microphone or USB phone handset yet.

    Do you think that a Skype voicemail service could be used by podcast listeners to leave audio messages?

  2. neville

    Funny you should mention using Skype for podcast listeners to leave audio messages. Shel and I have been thinking about that for FIR for some time.

    Definitely viable, even if it’s just the Skype-to-Skype option. Even better with a SkypeIn number anyone can call.

    We already have a normal phone number for FIR. But maybe we should offer a Skype option as well. Thanks for the nudge!

Comments are closed.