Back in November, 2014, the Redmond tech giant, Microsoft introduced Skype for Web app in beta and availed it for testing to only a handful of users. Microsoft was conducting some dry runs on the Skype web app, touted to enable users to make VOIP calls straight from their browsers when using a computer.
The new Skype for web will make things easier for Skype users who for one reason or another cannot use the Skype mobile app or the Skype desktop standalone app. For example, say you are in a restaurant using a public computer that does not have the Skype app installed. You can still quickly get in touch with your Skype contacts, by simply going to web.Skype.com (supported browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari or IE), and voila! You can continue with IMs, voice and video calls to your Skype contacts.
It would appear that Microsoft is sufficiently pleased with the test runs it has been conducting thus far since November. Last Friday, the Company announced it has opened the platform to more users other than the first handful of ‘tester-users’. Now, anyone Skype user living in the United States and United Kingdom can try the new Skype for web, even though it is still in the beta stage.
However, to use Skype for web, you will need to download and install a small plugin. You might argue (rightfully so) that installing a browser plugin sort of defeats the purpose of this whole Skype for web being called a web-based app. However, Microsoft says it is working on a WebRTC-based implementation that will do away with the need of downloading and installing any plugins on the end user’s side.
Jonathan Watson, a senior product marketing manager at Skype, wrote the following in a blog post:
“Skype for web is perfect if you normally use Skype on your mobile, but want to quickly get to your calls and IMSs on a bigger screen. Or perhaps you’re sitting at a Windows or Mac computer in an internet café or hotel that doesn’t already have Skype downloaded. If you’re in the US or UK and are using a computer, take a moment to give Skype for Web a try. Just go to Skype.com and join or sign in with your Skype ID and password.”