Once you have the basics of video and audio Skype calling mastered, don’t forget that you can use the service for so many other things as well.  Like other online services we could mention, Skype offers a range of optional apps, which can enhance and personalise your individual experience of the software.

Some are created by Skype themselves, others by third parties, and they do vary in their usefulness and application.  Because Skype control and manage the marketplace, theoretically there is a quality threshold – it’s early days for the Skype App shop, and it will be interesting to see what emerges, there isn’t a massive number of options yet but lots are free or very cheap, so you can experiment to see what you like best. Here are a few we like that might be useful for a range of different people

SkyHistory –  if you like to use the Skype instant messaging features, you might want to keep better track of your conversations than the default app settings.  This freebie lets you track, search and identify all your chats for as long as you like.  Brilliant if you use Skype for business communications, to share travel information or for any kind of training or coaching purposes.

Want to record Granddad’s 80th birthday party chat, or a Spanish lesson with your intercambio buddy?  Pamela for Skype lets you easily record upto 15 minutes of audio or 5 minutes of video with the free basic service, or you can upgrade to a paid edition for more.  Remember not to record people without their permission!  But there are lots of times it is definitely a useful feature to have.

If you need to Skype IM with someone in a different language, Clownfish works about as well as any other automatic/online translation software, and can cope with a wide range of different languages beyond Spanish and English.  It’s handy having translation happen right there in your Skype chat window, but do remember the limitations of online translation, and try to involve a human with a brain if anything critical depends on the subtler senses being conveyed successfully…

If you like the idea of your computer asking you random trivia questions in the name of fun, this game might appeal – we look forward to your feedback…

But if you need more serious professional-grade applications, check out the reviews on our Skype for Business pages as well.

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