Microsoft Sparks Skype Conversations With Web Links

No Skype? No problem. Users can now invite anyone to a Skype video or voice calls by sending a URL.

Microsoft Skype

Skype for Web, the browser-based version of Microsoft's communications app, can come in handy when users can't (or won't) install a Skype client on their devices. Now, it can help users better connect with practically anyone with Internet access.

"We've started to roll out the ability for users to invite anyone to join a Skype chat by sharing a unique link—send it however you want, in an email, on Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger or Twitter," announced Microsoft in the Skype group's blog. "But best of all, anyone can join the chat as a guest from their computer using Skype for Web and enjoy one-to-one or group instant messaging, voice and video calls."

For Microsoft, the new capability removes one of the last hurdles keeping Skype users from interacting with others, non-users in this case. Earlier this month, the company took aim at the language barrier by adding its Skype Translator technology to the Windows app. Skype Translator provides on-the-fly spoken translation services for six languages: English, French, German, Italian, Mandarin and Spanish.

Skype link recipients are not required to set up an account or download an app. "Now you can use Skype to chat with anyone and not just the people in your Skype contact list," noted the company.

Currently, the feature is limited to certain regions and device types. "You can start, share and join a conversation from Skype for Windows, Skype for Mac, and Skype for Web in the U.S. and U.K. Guests can join on Skype for Web," stated Microsoft. "Additionally, if you have a Skype name and Skype downloaded on your mobile, you can join a conversation on Skype for iPhone, iPad and Android."

Microsoft plans to roll out the feature internationally over the next couple of weeks. It is also working on adding the ability to send a link on mobile devices.

Following another recent update, users of the Skype app's text chat functionality have more Mojis and emoticons to choose from, Microsoft announced separately.

Introduced a month ago, Mojis are short video clips from the BBC, Universal Studios, Disney Muppets and other partner studios that users can embed into their chats. In general, they are iconic, meme-worthy scenes from popular TV shows and films. The first batch of clips hail from several movies, including Despicable Me and Jurassic Park.

"We're excited to announce our first new major content update for Mojis. In addition to tons of new clips, finding your favorite Mojis is even easier with new popular and featured tabs," wrote the Skype team in a company blog post. Clips from select Paramount films are now available, along with more BBC, Muppet and Universal Studios content.

An expanded set of emoticons also await, including some hidden ones the company hopes users will discover. They include "a yogi, crying while laughing, and a slew of spooky characters just in time for Halloween," said Microsoft.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...