Skype Around the World
In 1962, George, Jane and other space-age characters on The Jetsons spoke to each other through linked video monitors, which closely resemble the Skype™ technology Oprah now uses on a regular basis.
Since 2005, millions have logged on to Skype to call people around the world…for free! From business associates to faraway family members, Skype users keep in touch using ever-evolving audio and video technology.
Watch and see who's on Skype.
"It's the coolest thing ever," Oprah says. "[The Jetsons] called it televiewing at the time, and we call it Skyping. It's been one of the great things this year … being able to talk to viewers from their kitchens, from their living rooms, their bedrooms."
Find out how to download Skype on your computer!
Since it's free and easy to operate, Oprah uses this voice communications service to do everything from cook with viewers in their kitchens to tour celebrities' homes. "It's changing the way we do television," Oprah says.
To test the limits of this breakthrough technology, Oprah's embarking on an extreme Skype adventure of her own. "We're going to some places we've never gone before," Oprah says. "We could not have pulled this show off a few months ago. That's just how fast the technology is working."
From Chicago, Oprah and her audience can see New Yorkers browsing for electronics. In New York, shoppers get a surprise when Oprah pops up on a television screen in the store!
Watch one shopper's hilarious reaction.
Ashraf, one surprised shopper, tells Oprah he's browsing in Best Buy until Pottery Barn opens. He's in the market for a gift for his mom.
Mohamed al-Fayed, the store's owner, stops by Oprah's Skype station to give a shopping report. It's just after 3 p.m. in England, and Mohamed says his 4.5-acre store is packed with tourists.
"Harrods is a Mecca," he says. "It's a great theater for shopping."
Inside this London landmark, shoppers can find everything from cigars and swimwear to toy trains and silk scarves.
"I wear green socks every Friday as a tribute to a great friend of mine," he says. "She's a co-worker of mine, and I love her to pieces."
As Oprah learns from Lorrie, green socks are pretty hard to find. "When you find them, you've got to buy them!" he says.
Today, a few unsuspecting fans get a special surprise when their Kodak moment is captured on Oprah's third Skype camera!
After these five women finish posing, Oprah invites them inside to be part of her studio audience.
Barbara takes photos of people through Skype and then uses these images to create their portraits. "I can go to people all over the world and sketch them," she says. "It's a brand new portrait format, and I just love it."
In just 45 minutes, Barbara turns a photo of Oprah into a portrait. "Thank you so much," Oprah says. "I am loving myself."
In Grise Fiord, Canada, North America's northernmost community, Janice braves snowy conditions and cold temperatures to Skype with Oprah…and she's not alone! Many of the town's 141 residents come out to watch the action.
Grise Fiord is 900 miles south of the North Pole, and on this May morning, Janice says the temperature is holding steady at minus 1 degree Fahrenheit. "It's a little cold all right," she says.
"We spanned the whole Canadian Arctic," she says. "It was a colossal team effort to do it, but we did it, and we're happy to do it."
Nothing comes easy in the North Pole. According to Janice, even basic necessities like milk and eggs are in short supply. "Everything comes in by air," she says. "We shop at our one local grocery store, which is open exactly 28 hours a week."
At Palmer Station, which is located just 2,000 miles north of the South Pole, Neal says he and 29 other scientists research everything from the upper atmosphere to the bottom of the ocean. When they're not working, he says there are a lot of ways to pass the time.
"We see whales, penguins, seals, all sorts of marine wildlife here," Neal says. "We can go boating. We can climb the glacier, and really, it's all about the community down here. We can just converse with each other and that's how we entertain ourselves the most."
"I have seen rather dramatic changes since I first started coming down in 1987," he says. "In 2002, a piece of ice about the size of the state of Rhode Island came off the Larsen Ice Shelf. So we're talking about a lot of frozen water here."
Though they don't normally use Skype, Neal says the researchers have been taking advantage of the technology this week. They're connecting with students across the country and teaching lessons via the Internet. "I'm so inspired by that idea of you all using Skype to go into the classrooms," Oprah says. "I think I can teach to my girls in Africa from Skype."
Mandy says she's on her way from Seattle to Los Angeles with a plane full of 120 passengers. "I think right now we're right above San Francisco," she says.
In May 2009, Virgin America became the first airline to offer Internet service to every passenger.
"We're off the coast of Hawaii at periscope depth, Skyping off of our periscope," he says. "This is the first for any submarine. We're pretty proud that we'll be able to do this for you today."
Cmdr. Sager is the commander of the USS Louisville, affectionately known as "the slugger." For months at a time, Cmdr. Sager lives in this submarine with 146 other men. "Right now we're 60 feet—so about six stories—underwater," he says.
Bathroom space is also limited. Cmdr. Sager says the whole crew shares three bathrooms. "One of the bathrooms has three toilets," he says. "The other ones each have about one or two."
For this reason, Cmdr. Sager says the Navy doesn't allow women to serve on submarines. "They continue to look at that policy and evaluate it, but right now, we don't have any women on board, based on habitability and the personal space that everybody has."
"One of the interesting points is that wine really manifests differently depending on the circumstances and the physical location," Randall says. "I think the wine is going to taste a little bit different in Chicago, a little bit different in Santa Cruz and certainly a little bit different on the airplane."
First, the group swirls and sips a 2008 Ca' Del Solo Albarino, a white wine from a vineyard in the Salinas Valley. Then, they try Bonny Doon's flagship wine, Le Cigare Volant, which means "the flying cigar."
For the finale, Randall moves on to a dessert wine called Le Vol des Anges, or "the angel's flight."
Determined to remain independent and active, Ed turned to technology. He began wearing a camera that's hooked up to Skype. The camera also has an earpiece that allows him to talk to assistants who guide his every move.
Now, Ed is able to ski, sail and ride a bike again. "I just discovered true freedom of movement that I haven't experienced in the last 10 years," he says. "The best thing I've done in my life."
This voice communication system may be part of his profession, but at home, he says he and his children use Skype for personal reasons.
"I picked up and moved my wife and children eight time zones away from their grandparents," Josh says. "I can't tell you what a meaningful impact it's had for my family. My kids still have a rich, real relationship with their grandparents where they get to see them and talk to them every week. Their grandparents can read them stories. My kids can show their art projects."
Find out how to download Skype on your home computer.