Jaanus has pointed out that today, for the first time, over 7,000,000 users were on Skype earlier today. I usually find Skype peaks at some time between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. EDT. And this benchmark is reached on Skype’s third birthday.
Now if Skype would fix the bug whereby presence information is not always current in version 2.5, we could get back to saying Skype is a real time communications service. I have noticed the same problem that Rachel, Rick Segal’s very articulate daughter, has blogged about. For Rachel and her MusicIP team associates, Skype and its IM presence/chat engine has become “our office”:
I’m criticizing because
up until a couple weeks ago, the MusicIP team wasis as dependent on Skype for connecting with one another as an all-in-one-office company would be dependent on the water cooler, or for that matter, chairs [modified because after I thought for a minute…we still are dependent on it – we just complain about it now where we didn’t before]. Taking to each other from a number of cities (which is usually at about six, but at other times people could be spread out among up to 10 different places), brainstorming via group chats, or simply sharing an interesting link for a laugh – more than our actual office, Skype is our office.
I have it on good authority the Skype development team is looking into this issue as I write. At the same time, Rachel’s experience demonstrates, as Skype becomes mission critical to virtual communities worldwide, the importance of thoroughly testing new Skype releases to ensure they are backwards-feature-compatible. It also demonstrates that Skype’s presence engine is just as important as, if not more important than, the actual voice communications features.
Let’s hope we don’t have to wait for version 2.6 going gold to fix this problem.
Update: Rachel has received a response from Roman in Skype Customer Support. Let’s just say it’s one more indication that Skype employees have just as much passion for their work as Skype users have for using Skype. Quoting Rachel again:
I’ve done customer service on an absolutely miniscule scale compared to what he’s dealing with on a daily basis; his job isn’t easy. We’re cranky, we’re put out, and we want answers. Roman clearly takes his job seriously and is representing the company he is a part of extremely well. It’s not easy sometimes to articulate the right reply to a customer inquiry. But it takes a ton more courage and time to respond to said whiny customer in this much more public format.