skypeI had a really weird encounter with Skype the other day. I got an email invitation to participate in an online survey about a new product idea Skype had. Being a market researcher, I know how hard it is to get folks to take the time, besides, I can't resist surveys so I took the time.

The survey grilled me on my take on the names of a new Skype service to be called 'Skype Pocket Number.' I flamed this name arguing what was so pocket-y about this number? Instead, Skype asked me what about Skype To Go and Skype Express. I preferred Skype To Go.

When the survey was done, they passed me to the Skype home page which had a great big promotion for Skype To Go. This surprised me. As I read more, I realized that it was exactly the service that Skype wanted to call 'Skype Pocket Number.' 

Skype To Go is terrific.

It's a VoIP gateway service that accepts calls from authenticated PSTN phones (could be mobile – like my phones) and presents a directory of (hopefully international) numbers to be dialedby pressing 1 digit. To call my mom on my mobile, I select the local Skype To Go number from my onphone directory. The gateway acknowledges my ANI instead of a PIN (yeah!) and presents me with the choice of calling a number on my directory, or dialing some other international number. Although I set the directory up in my account page on, it reads the names that I've assigned to each entry. So I don't have to remember the numbers, or the place in the directory.

This is great since I can call my mother in Canada using my USA mobile phone without having to pay the exhorbitant cross-border fees.

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