Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Using Skype VM = Day 1

As I reported yesterday, I'm participating in the Skype VM beta for the next 60 days. I've only seen limited use so far, with just two voice mail messages. I've used the third party Skype Answering Machine (SAM) previously and I can already see that Skype VM functions better. The voicemails are clearer and both of them worked just fine. I've had some "drops" with SAM for some reason.

It might be premature, but I already have a few issues that I plan to send as feedback and questions to the Skype team. Want to see my thoughts after Day 1? Click the Read More link!

My first issue is that I can't check my voicemail from any internet connection. My thought is: if I'm going to pay for this service when it goes live and all of the voice files are on Skype servers, why can't I sign in to My Account on the Skype website and retrieve my messages? From what I can see, listening to messages will require a Skype client. For those in a fairly locked down work environment, this means you might not be able to check your Skype VM at work. Perhaps a non-issue, but it would be nice.

My second thought is: once I play a VM message, it is downloaded and stored locally on my PC. Why can't I play it back, save as an audio file (.mp3 or .wma), send it somewhere, etc...? The file is saved locally as a .dat file and so far, I see no way to listen to it with any kind of audio player. I'm assuming it's a proprietary format for the Skype client only, and if so, I'm disappointed.

It's not all bad, however. The VM functionality works well so far. The messages are as clear as a live Skype call, which makes sense since the caller is recording their message over the Skype network. I do like how Skype notifies me upon login of message and provides a small cassette icon next to my name to show folks that I have Skype VM. More to follow, but I thought to share my initial thoughts.

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At 2/25/2005 11:15 AM, Anonymous Peter Kalmström said...

Very interesting! I am going to follow your testing.
Agree with your feelings about the .dat format. A more widely used format would be much more useful.

At 12/13/2005 11:47 PM, Anonymous bonus said...

I've recently discover Skype, everybody was talking to me about it, but I was not convinced to leave Msn messenger. Now that the new Skype 2.0 offers video it has made me decide to give it a try. I found is easy to install and use and the sound quality is clearly better than with msn... Since that day: bye bye Microsoft!


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