Skype, Google+ Hangout, etc.

The popular online tools such as Skype, Google+ Hangouts, etc can be used as an alternative for Lotus Sametime to have a quick online meeting. The online tools are very easy to use; however, Lotus Sametime offers additional features like desktop sharing and the ability to record the meeting.

Skype software is available for download from You can call other computers using Skype (free) or even regular phones (requires paid subscription).  Skype works very well for quick audio conference sessions (up to 15 participants) using the built-in microphones in the laptops.  The software (as shown in the picture on the right) looks like other popular instant messenger programs, and it can handle text, audio and video chat sessions.

How to use Skype

  1. Go to Skype web site and download the software.
  2. Install Skype and create an account.
  3. Add your classmates as contacts using their Skype usernames.

Now you are ready to have an audio conference with your contacts.  One-on one video calling is free, but video conferencing with multiple participants requires paid subscription on Skype at this time. Google+ Hangout offers multiuser video call service for free.