Using the Internet to talk on the phone has really started to take off, the Pew Internet & American Life Project reports. A quarter of US adults Internet users have made phone calls online now (19% of all US adults), up from 8% (and 6%) in 2007. Now, 5% of US Internet users make calls online “on any given day,” Pew says, up from 2% in 2007. This was the first year in Pew’s ongoing study of Net telephony use that it specifically referred to Skype (which Microsoft just acquired for $8.5 billion) and Vonage, it says. “That changed wording might account for some of the increase,” Pew added, “but there is little doubt that the popularity of online phone calling has picked up over time for several reasons: It is free or cheaper than other types of phone calling; it is enabled on many handheld devices like smartphones and tablet computers; more and more meetings and classroom activities exploit online phone connections along with video capabilities; and more families and friends are building online calls into their communications streams.”
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