Multimedia components and proprietary programs

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Skype and Google Video

Even the new version 4 of Skype is in the Canonical Partners repository. Apart from videotelephony, it also provides desktop sharing: To make collaboration easier, your conversation partner can take a peek at your desktop.

Thanks to the new version, the image quality of Skype for Linux is gradually matching that of the Windows client. Be aware, however, that Skype is one of the pieces of software that most spies on your communications. If you value your privacy, don't use it.

As an alternative to Skype, you can check out Google's Hangout video platform, which also allows calls among multiple participants (Figure 5). You will need a Google account, so register at the Google website and then go to the left at the top of the Google+ profile.

Figure 5: Like Skype, Google Hangout provides video chat capability.

In the right-hand column, select Start Hangout and install a video plugin for your system. You can simply download the corresponding DEB package and double-click the file manager.

Google Earth

If you enjoy using Google Earth [6], you can install it in Ubuntu 14.04, too. Simply download the corresponding Debian package for your architecture, and then go to Software Center and install the lsb-core package.

Double-clicking the Google Earth package loads it onto the computer. Note that this step can take a while, mainly because the package grabs additional files from an online server.

Next, make sure you have enough free space reserved. Then, you can start Google Earth by entering goog in the Dash. Be forewarned, however: Google Earth is no fun without proper 3D acceleration.

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