Let’s just stop for a minute and think about that. That’s more than the entire populations of Belgium and Portugal put together. If you had five of New Zealand, it still wouldn’t be as many people.
That is an immense number of people all to be using an application to talk to each other at the same time. Lets think about the maths for a second. Bear with me, it gets pretty damn impressive in a bit.
The minimum recommended connection speed for a call on Skype is roughly 256KBps. So one user, every second, will send or receive a total of 256000 bytes of information, or 2048000 zeros and ones every second. Add up all the users and that’s 44405915648000 pieces of information all passing through the same servers and the same location on the globe every second. In the half-hour I’ve been chatting to my friend in Paris, I’ve used a fraction of the roughly 79930648166400000 pieces of information to pass through what was originally built out of one guy’s computer in Sweden.
Think about how you would organise such a thing! You have over one septillion septillion (yes, that’s a septillion squared) bytes all going through the same place at the same time, how do you figure out which byte to send where, and who’s sending it, and do it fast enough for people to not only voice, but video call each other. That’s a properly monumental undertaking.
You don’t even think of all this when using Skype. You just click ‘video call’ and you’re there! speaking to someone, seeing someone, half a planet away!
This kinda thing amazes me. Just the little, unnoticed thing, that when you look at it, is really very, very advanced and just goes about its work quietly, with no fuss.
I admire the guys who invented and coded Skype. And it’s probably not even the biggest thing out there. But I tell you what, when you think about it, it’s damn cool.