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 conversational partner can 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, though, 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, check out Google's Hangout video platform, which also allows calls among multiple participants (Figure 6). You'll need a Google account, so register at the Google website and go to the left at the top of the Google+ profile. 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.

Figure 6: Like Skype, Google Hangout provides video chat capability.

Google Hangouts are also suspect when it comes to user privacy. An experimental but very secure and private alternative is Tox [5] (Figure 7), a new, free, and open protocol that implements peer-to-peer encrypted live communication, including audio and video chats. Your best bet is to download the μTox client [6]; then, you just have to decompress it, and it is ready to use.

Figure 7: Tox is secure and keeps your conversations, even your video chats, private.

Google Earth

Those who enjoy using Google Earth [7] can also install it in Ubuntu 16.04. Just 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 on the computer, which can take a while mainly because the package grabs additional files from an online server. Be 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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