Microsoft Opens Up Skype for Web Beta in U.S. and U.K.
The company expands the browser-based voice and video calling application to all users; no Skype client is required.Microsoft continues to expand access to its online voice and video communications offering. Now, all users in the United States and United Kingdom can make Skype calls or conduct text chats directly in their Web browsers without downloading and installing a Skype client. "As we explained at the end of last year, 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," Jonathan Watson, Skype senior product marketing manager, wrote in a May 5 company blog post. Last November, Microsoft announced that it was rolling out Skype for Web to a limited number of users, as well as working on a way to deliver the technology without a browser plug-in. "But just as importantly, we're doing it because the hundreds of millions of people that visit Skype.com every month told us they want to call and IM when they visit our Website," Watson continued. "We know how critical it is for you to get to your conversations—and Skype for Web helps you get connected anytime." Visitors to the site in the United States and United Kingdom can get started by logging in with their Skype credentials. Once access is granted, "you'll notice your contacts and conversations load in just a few seconds, so whether you usually use Skype on a mobile, tablet, native desktop app or a TV, you'll see your latest chats are ready to respond to in your browser," Watson noted.
The move follows a major overhaul of Skype for Outlook.com. Clicking the Skype icon in the Webmail service's interface now sprouts a sidebar that replicates most of the functionality of the stand-alone app and makes it easier to search for contacts, make calls and continue chats where the user left off.