Skype for Web Beta Rolled Out to U.S., U.K. Users
As more and more users gravitate toward mobile versions of their favorite software, Skype is joining the crowd by opening up access to its Skype for Web beta to make it easier to connect to the service. Microsoft's Skype for Web debuted as a closed beta last fall, but it is now available as an open beta to all users in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Skype for Web is not drastically different from Skype’s desktop version. It comes with support for messaging, audio calls and video chats using a real-time communications (RTC) plug-in, and it supports desktop notifications. Also, users can also search their contact list to start new messages, or find new contacts by searching the Skype directory.
Skype said its Web version is ideal for users who normally use Skype on mobile devices, but want to quickly get calls and IMs on bigger screens. It can also be handy for a user at a Windows or Mac computer in an Internet café or hotel that doesn’t have Skype available.
As Skype explained during the beta’s initial rollout at the end of last year, Skype for Web is an important part of the company’s move toward implementing the technology to make RTC on the Web a reality.
"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 Web site," said Skype’s Jonathan Watson in a blog post."
How is Skype for Web different from its desktop cousin? For one thing, it doesn’t have the array of options for sorting and managing users' contact lists, and early users are reporting that some smaller features, such as the ability to change one’s Skype mood, are missing. Most other features, including all essential features, seem to be included, however.
No Chromebook Option Yet
The beta version is available on Skype’s Web site. After signing in with their Skype IDs and passwords, users click a link underneath the button used to download Skype. That link lets users try out Skype for Web. It's listed as a beta version, so there could still be bugs to work out. Currently, the program works on Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox.
As for set up, the Skype for Web does require the installation of a plug-in for users who wish to conduct voice or video calls. For now, that means Chromebook users are limited to text messaging only. Skype said that it's working on a WebRTC version of the Web app that wouldn't require a plug-in and could allow for Chromebook support. Skype hasn’t said when that can be expected, but it said Chromebook support is coming soon. The Web version also doesn't support Microsoft's Edge browser in the latest Insider build of Windows 10.
Additionally, using the app means users automatically agree to the use of tracking cookies for analytics, personalized content and ads. Skype for Web will rolled out for users worldwide in the next few weeks.
Posted: 2015-06-06 @ 12:33pm PT
Greetings from Skype Customer Service!
This is in reference to our Chat Session with regards to your concern about installing Skype web beta plugin on your Vista device. As per checking here on my end, Skype is starting to discontinue the support for Windows XP and Windows Vista gradually for each customer and this retirement is also applicable to Skype for Web beta. As per the prompt you are receiving, its clearly indicated that the plug in will only work using Windows 7 OS and above. In that case, I suggest that you upgrade your operating system or to use a device that runs the supported OS for you to be able to install and use Skype for Web Beta.
Feel free to contact us back via chat if you have other concerns. Thank you!
Posted: 2015-06-06 @ 2:10am PT
If you try to access Skype for Web using a Chrome or Firefox browser on a Linux OS you get the following message: "Sorry, Skype for Web (Beta) isn’t available on this device yet. Please try it on your desktop computer instead." Duh. This IS a desktop computer.