Review: Advansys RecollX for Skype keeps a searchable archive of Skype convos, IMs, and files

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Advansys RecollX for Skype

    PCWorld Rating

[Ed. note 1/22/13: In response to this review, the vendor has dropped the price from $80 to $20 US.]

Over the years, Skype has gained a greater acceptance by businesses, especially as the VOIP client has improved the features for video chat and group messaging. It is now common to see small call centers and virtual offices powered by Skype, as well as the editorial staffs of major websites. But one problem that people face when they use Skype for business is that it is not that easy to search through past IM conversations, SMS messages, and files sent and received to see who said or received what and when. That's where Advansys RecollX Professional for Skype (originally $80 for a single user, now $20 for a single user, 30-day free trial) comes in to help.

In a nutshell, RecollX is an archiving app which connects directly into your installed Skype app (even Portable Skype) and makes copies of your conversations, SMS messages and files sent / received as they happen. These are then searchable for future reference, and any part can be exported to the Windows clipboard or exported to a CSV file.

When you install RecollX for the first time, it will ask for permission to access your Skype app. When you provide that access, it will begin downloading and archiving your past Skype chat conversations (assuming you have instructed Skype in the options section to keep it all). From then on, you can have the program start up with Windows and it will sit quietly in the system tray next to the clock, copying and archiving the details of every call, IM and file transfer in Skype.

To see your conversation history with a Skype contact, double-click their username in the left pane and the conversation appears on the right. Then search by keyword.

When you want to search for a particular part of a conversation, just double-click on the contact in the left hand pane. Then when the conversations load up in the middle window, enter your search term in the search box above. Any results will then load and you can double-click on one to see it in full in the right pane.

One unique feature of RecollX's search engine is that it is able to search by hashtag. Hashtags were made popular by Twitter, and now this has been carried over to RecollX. If you add a hashtag to a Skype IM message before sending it out, you can then put that hashtag into RecollX and it will bring back the conversation. So for example, entering #pcworld will bring back all PC World related conversations you may have had recently.

You are also not limited to one archive. If you run several Skype usernames, you can log into each one and tell RecollX to start archiving that username too. The archive will be updated when you are logged into Skype under that name.

So what are the cons of this app? It's really expensive.  After a free 30-day trial, prices start at $80 for a single user and the price then goes up, depending on the number of users. Compared to Pamela Professional, which does the same thing for half the price, the cost does give pause. You also have other rivals, such as G-Recorder, which copies your instant messages and records your phone calls as MP3s and sends them directly to your Gmail account—something RecollX doesn't do. However, RecollX may be more appropriate for businesses that require an audit trail of conversations, such as financial or banking companies.

Whether you choose to go with Advansys RecollX Professional for Skype or with one of their rivals, one thing is for certain. In business, you need to keep careful records of what you said to whom and what they said back.

Note: The "Download" button on the Product Information page will download the software to your system.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    If you are using Skype for business, you may need to refer back to your previous instant messaging conversations and SMS text messages. Advansys RecollX makes light work of this by providing an easy-to-use searchable archive which plugs directly into your Skype app.

    Pros

    • Interface very intuitive and easy to use
    • User sets the frequency of archive update
    • Can copy search results to Windows clipboard or export to CSV

    Cons

    • Rivals are much cheaper
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