Skype API

October 27, 2004

in Skype Journal

News of Skype’s API is leaking out slowly with a few rumors here and there. I’m been quiet as I’ve been in the beta forum and some of my best Skype buddies have been busy readying some new presence solutions. However the Skype API forum and API details

It’s now possible to build Skype tools into your own website, or other applications. Nobody officially knows this, of course, because, typically, Skype Technologies hasn’t actually announced it — but if you download the latest build today, you’ll spot the innovation in the install log.

What on earth is a Skype API? Skype is an instant messenger, but specially designed to allow non-expert users to talk to each other over the Internet. The trick is available with rival IM services like MSN, AOL and Yahoo but many users find it hard to set up. Skype’s install is comparatively idiot-proof. And the API means that programmers can add the Skype IM features to their own work. PCWorld

The first big surprise will be a Skype Presence Server developed outside of Skype. It will enable a new market for presence. A market where you and I can choose who brokers our presence information and when and where it is shared.

It looks like you can do quite a bit. The first is part of how a USB phone can use the API. The second is what third party software can do. And it looks like you can place calls, IM, view a user profile, and probably some more stuff. You can even have two apps use the API at the same time.

This could get interesting. Documentation for the API is expected to be released in November, and some companies are quietly working on easy to use API wrappers to allow Skype to be used through Java and web apps.

This slow leak style appears to be the norm for Skype now. See also NewWire

The Skype API has huge potential. It will immediately provide opportunities not available with other messaging services and has potential to grow a whole new market for information services. My belief is simple. If Skype’s API release is successful then not only will growth accelerate, it will gain a huge innovation advantage, bootstrapping on resources that as a small company they could otherwise not afford. That’s been the successful software model for awhile – releasing beta versions and getting developers to build their own applications around it.

I see opportunities for new applications. If you are ready to release your Skype API application let me know.

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