Ten free apps to install on every new PC
Bags of functionality for nowt
Pidgin is the multi-service instant messaging client par excellence. It's ready to connect to 16 chat networks, including MSN, Yahoo!, ICQ, AIM, IRC and Google Talk, yet integrates them all into a clear, faff-free user interface, allowing you to converse with chums and colleagues without having to remember which network they're on.
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Skype is the de facto standard for making voice and video calls over the internet. Talking to friends and family is free if they use Skype too, but you can also use it to call mobile phones and landlines at a fraction of the rate the major network operators charge, especially if you're calling overseas. Or, as we do, to ring home from hotel rooms when we're travelling. The only thing you can't do is rely on it to make emergency calls - no broadband, no phoning. But for everyday use, it's unsurpassed.
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