The Real Revolution In Skype

The new Skype is out today. I’ve not played with the video — the main selling bit for most folks — but for me the best bit is the ‘status’ bubble. They’ve stolen a trick out GoogleTalk’s book, which has these easy-to-change status bits:

Gt

and are now in Skype:

Skype

It may seem merely cute, but actually is a great way to signal more metadata about one’s presence. No longer need one just say “I’m away” or whatever, but some indication of your mood, your location, your state (work, home, nodding off, eating at your desk, in love etc) can be conveyed on the fly. This is a quiet revolution in our ability to broadcast to other people our status. Simple but very, very useful.

01. December 2005 by jeremy
Categories: Design, Interfaces, Internet life, Phones, Privacy, Productivity, Software, apps | Tags: , , , | 4 comments

Comments (4)

  1. Hi Jeremy,

    I’m guessing you don’t use Yahoo Messenger, but it has had this feature for many, many years.

    So, my guess is that it’s more likely they got the idea from Yahoo than Google.

    AIM also lets you set custom status messages, though you have to work to see them.

  2. Hi Jeremy,

    I’m guessing you don’t use Yahoo Messenger, but it has had this feature for many, many years.

    So, my guess is that it’s more likely they got the idea from Yahoo than Google.

    AIM also lets you set custom status messages, though you have to work to see them.

  3. Mike, thanks for this. I should have been more specific: All these chat programs have ‘status’ messages, but what GoogleTalk, and now Skype do, is to make it a fluid part of the program. ICQ et al let you edit your away message, but this is not much of a ‘presence indicator’: it just tells people you’re away from your computer and a little bit more.

    Even in Yahoo, which allows you to change your message — ‘it’s raining’ — without changing your status — ‘away’ — and lets you do relatively easily, you have to scroll down, select the option, enter text and click on OK before it’s active. Unsurprisingly, only one of more than a dozen Yahoo buddies seem to be using this to say something more informative than ‘not at my desk’ or ‘idle’.

    GoogleTalk and Skype take all this to the next level by making the presence easily configurable, right there in the screen itself. This may seem a small step, but it has great potential.

  4. Mike, thanks for this. I should have been more specific: All these chat programs have ‘status’ messages, but what GoogleTalk, and now Skype do, is to make it a fluid part of the program. ICQ et al let you edit your away message, but this is not much of a ‘presence indicator’: it just tells people you’re away from your computer and a little bit more.

    Even in Yahoo, which allows you to change your message — ‘it’s raining’ — without changing your status — ‘away’ — and lets you do relatively easily, you have to scroll down, select the option, enter text and click on OK before it’s active. Unsurprisingly, only one of more than a dozen Yahoo buddies seem to be using this to say something more informative than ‘not at my desk’ or ‘idle’.

    GoogleTalk and Skype take all this to the next level by making the presence easily configurable, right there in the screen itself. This may seem a small step, but it has great potential.