Skype currently has over 560 million registered users who rely on the popular program to stay in touch with friends and family.
But if you've been a long-time Skype user you are probably already aware of the fact that there are days when the program seems to acts up. Sometimes calls get dropped, and if there is too much background noise you can't hear what the other person is saying.
Whether you're sick and tired of relying on Skype, or you're simply looking around for other alternatives to the program, here are 13 alternative programs you could try using to stay in touch with your loved ones:
ComBOTS is a program that will connect your PC or landline phone with others around the world for cheap or at no cost at all. You can call other mobile phone numbers from your PC or landline, and you can also use the chat feature which allows you to include audio and video as well.
iChat is a popular option for Mac users, but it also has an instant messaging application that will work with your AIM or MobileMe account as well. Not only does it have an instant messaging app, it also has support for audio, video and screen/application sharing, and you can also videoconference chat with three other users at the same time.
3. Gizmo Project
Gizmo allows you to make cheap or even free international calls, and you can use the Gizmo Call In and Call Out feature to call other phones for as little as 1.9 cents per minute. You can also record conversations, map where your caller or receiver is calling from, and much more.
This program allows you to video chat with up to six people at the same time, and you can also import all of your contacts from your Facebook and Twitter account, IM services, and e-mail address book. You can also record and send video messages, share files when you're on a call, and chat with other non-ooVoo users by sending them a Web Video Call link.
5. Google Voice
Any Google Voice user can make calls to the U.S. and Canada, and one of the perks is that when you call another phone your number will show up as your Google Voice number instead of a randomly generated number. Google also recently launched a Google Voice app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch as well.
Jajah allows you to make free PC-to-PC VoIP phone calls and even a limited number of free calls from your landline as well. You can get approximately 1,000 free minutes per month, but if you go over the limit you will be asked to purchase their premium services; but if you don't you could be cut off from using the program altogether.
7. Windows Live Messenger
If you use Windows Vista or Windows 7, then this program allows you to do PC-to-PC voice and video calling, however, it currently won't allow you to make phone calls to outside lines. Not only can you video chat in HD, you can also share your photos, leave 30 second video messages, and much more.
If you don't mind shelling out $4.95 a month, SightSpeed is a great option if you're looking to use PC-to-PC voice calling and videoconferencing, video-mail recording, and multiparty videoconferencing.
This program allows you to call mobile phones or landlines in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Japan and much more. If you purchase a subscription of the program (which usually costs around $13 USD) it will allow you to make free international calls for between 90 to 125 days depending on how much you use the program.
10. Gmail Voice and Video Chat
Unlike Google Voice, which is known to be more of a transcribing service for your existing phone lines, this program allows you to make voice and video calls from Gmail and even call regular phone numbers as well.
VoxOx lets you set up a Google Voice-like routing system for free, but you can also add calling to outside numbers, use the video calling service, and even use a free inbound phone number as well.
12. Yahoo Messenger
This program allows you to call outside phone lines for cheap, and you can also chat using a high quality full-screen video. You can also make free PC-to-PC phone calls and PC-to-phone calls for as little as 1 cent per minute which includes free voicemail as well.
This is a Web-based service that doesn't require any setup, and currently offers multi-party videoconferencing with up to 20 other users. (But be forewarned that the image quality isn't as great as other services).
Skype is a great service and of course, you can't beat free. But if you're looking for Skype alternatives, hopefully this has been a helpful article for you.
Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and researcher for College Scholarships, where recently she's been researching neonatal nursing scholarships while preparing a guide on poor credit personal loans. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.