Today there are many websites offering live voice chat rooms and instant messengers (IMs), enabling users to both hear and speak to one another online. The main voice chat rooms are free and supplied by websites such as ICQ, Yahoo!, MSN , AOL and the new Google Talk Instant Messenger and chat client. Google Talk enables you to call or send instant messages to your friends for free anytime, anywhere in the world.
VOIP - Voice over IP (VoIP) is defined as a methodology and group of technologies for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet. Other terms commonly associated with VoIP are IP telephony, Internet telephony, broadband telephony, and broadband phone service.
VoIP phones - A VoIP phone or IP Phone uses Voice over IP (Voice over Internet Protocol - VoIP) technologies for placing and transmitting telephone calls over an IP network, such as the Internet, instead of the traditional public switched telephone network (PSTN).
Mobile VoIP - Or simply mVoIP is an extension of mobility to a Voice over IP network. Two types of communication are generally supported: cordless/DECT/PCS protocols for short range or campus communications where all base stations are linked into the same LAN, and wider area communications using 3G/4G protocols.
Voice chat has led to a significant increase in distant communications where two people from opposite ends of the world can talk almost free of cost. Rocket messenger and AOL were among the first to offer voice chat facilities, they were soon followed by paltalk which became a quick hit. Later Yahoo Instant Messenger became the most used of the voice chat sites as it provided several unique features including the ability to "individual" voice chat with another person, as well as maintain voice chat facilities in some categories of their Yahoo chat rooms.
The only requirements needed to engage in voice chat are:
166MHz processor with 16MB of RAM (minimum)
Internet connection (56 kbps minimum)
Full-duplex sound card required (for Audio)
Microphone, Speakers or Headset (for Audio)
Some of the more common Instant Messengers with voice chat ability include:
Yahoo! Messenger with voice chat - Yahoo! is one of the bigger names in the free instant messaging arena allowing you to, Voice chat, video conference, instant message contacts, text messaging, send and receive files and pictures.
MSN Voice Chat - now known as Windows Live Messenger, instant communication software, voice chat and video cam chat. Features include Sending and receiving instant messages to anyone on your contact list, Share photos and files easily, See when your friends are online, Page a contact's mobile phone and make worldwide phone calls.
AOL Chat Messenger - Chat, video, voice and text online with AOL free software. Send and receive files, play games online, share photos and more.
ICQ Voice chat - ICQ is another online messaging service which allows you to - Voice chat, video conference, instant text message, send and receive files and pictures from computer to computer (P2P) and more.
Make long distance phone calls with your PC
A fairly new online communications method is the computer to phone and phone to computer chat service using Voice Over IP (VOIP) technology. Users enjoy huge savings on long distance and international telephone calls.Its a perfect solution if you are working or studying away from home and making regular calls back home.
One such website, Skype, lets you make free calls over the Internet and their software is free to download. Skype is only 4 years old and already has millions of registered users with 150,000 new people joining every day.
Skype is a small piece of software that you download from the Internet. If you have a broadband connection, you can call between two computers anywhere in the world. You can also conference up to 5 participants, send instant messages and share files. What's really cool about Skype is that you can also call almost any phone number in the telephone network, receive calls from normal telephones and forward calls to up to 3 different numbers when you are away from your computer.
People are using Skype to talk to each other for hours free of charge (even though they may be thousands of miles apart). They can carry their landline number and check their voice mail wherever they go, and avoid roaming charges. You can make calls to any telephone and any computer, whether it is PC, Mac, Linux or PocketPC. The quality is far better than that of telephones. It is also available in 17 different languages and is very easy to install and use.