Skype for Web Beta Opens to US, UK

5 Jun 2015 | Author: | One comment »

Now You Can Use Skype Right in a Web Browser.

The Microsoft-owned Skype announced Friday that Skype for Web, which puts the popular video chat service in a web browser, is now available in beta mode to users in the United States and United Kingdom. “Now, anyone going to (or in the U.S. and U.K. can sign in and connect to Skype for Web to get to their conversations in an instant without downloading the Skype app,” according to a company blog post. Skype says the new feature is especially helpful for those who sign-in on Skype from a mobile phone, but also want to access calls and instant messages easily. It could also be helpful for people using computers at an Internet cafe or hotel without Skype downloaded, the company says. “Skype for Web is an important step for Skype as we move towards implementing the technology to make Real-Time Communications (RTC) on the web a reality,” the company continued. “But just as importantly, we’re doing it because the hundreds of millions of people that visit every month told us they want to call and IM when they visit our website.” Voice and video calling is only available on the browsers listed above on other platforms, however, including Windows and OS X, and requires that you install a browser plug-in to get those features running.

Before you begin, you may be asked to install a plugin to allow audio and video calls (or at least I was asked); from there, you’re treated to the familiar Skype interface that you receive with the desktop client. The web version doesn’t have nearly as many options for sorting and managing your contact lists, and there doesn’t seem to be any way to change your “mood.” Still, as a simple way to connect with your existing Skype contacts, it should get the job done. You could also just prefer not to have a native app installed, but regardless of your motivation, having a full-featured web-based version of Skype available is definitely not a bad thing. In addition, it doesn’t matter if your browser isn’t the current active window, your Skype notifications will still come through with a visual and audio notification. Skype has said that it’s working on a WebRTC version of the web app, which wouldn’t require a plug-in and would technically allow for Chromebook support, but there’s no word on when that might happen.

Eventually, Skype wants to offer plugin-free calling on all major browsers, powered by Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC), the standard toward which all online video calling services are moving. It enables Web app developers to include real-time video calling and data-sharing capabilities in their products, which can range from games to video conferencing tools. Microsoft Corporation is a public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through … read more »

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