Go Ahead--Reach Out and Gab to Someone

Skype's voice-over IP sparks a run of "voice pals"

Depending on your long-distance provider, that stranger with the thick accent may not be a telemarketer or a prank caller. Skype, whose software lets users make free phone calls over the Internet, has become the hot download among young Asians--with 45,000 new Chinese users signing on each day. And many of them are practicing their English by making random calls to fellow Skype users in the U.S. The company, which has 66 million registered subscribers in more than 200 countries, includes language preferences in every user's profile, and last year started offering a "Skype Me" mode that encourages calls from strangers....

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