Skype for Web runs in your web browser (maybe)


— 10:50 AM on November 14, 2014

Skype is now officially a web app. While Outlook.com users have had access to a barebones version of the software for some time, Microsoft has now announced what looks like a full-fledged Skype client for the web.

Skype for Web supports text chat as well as voice and video calls, and it can be accessed directly from Skype.com—although, right now, only by a "small number of existing and new users." The web client is still in beta and will be "gradually rolling out worldwide in the coming months," Microsoft says. To check if you're one of the lucky few, log in to Skype.com and check for an invite to use the new service.

Skype for Web requires at least Internet Explorer 10 or "the latest versions of Chrome and Firefox" on Windows. On OS X, only Safari 6 and newer releases are supported. Microsoft makes no mention of Linux. Perhaps that's because Skype for Web requires the installation of a "small plug-in."

Microsoft is working to make Skype for Web a plug-in-free experience, though. The company is using Web RTC, an open-source API crafted by the World Wide Web Consortium, and it says the plug-in requirement "will disappear once browsers support web RTC."

For now, if you're hoping to use the beta web client, be aware of rough edges. Those include a potential delay when placing outgoing calls as well as an "[i]ssue with battery consumption" on OS X. I guess MacBook users will probably want to stick with the non-web app until further notice.

   
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