Skype has been improving all the time, but Microsoft is starting to return to its PC roots despite the push for everything to “go mobile.” The company took to its Skype blog to herald the arrival of “Skype for Web (Beta),” a new way to access Skype that’ll change the current mobile-like approach to Skype across even Windows PCs.
Skype has always required users to download the Skype app and then log into the app with a username and password to access their account, but Microsoft’s new Skype for Web will eliminate the need to even download the Skype app. Now, no matter where you are, you can access Skype.com from a compatible Web browser and immediately log in to start sending texts and making voice and video calls.
“We’ve made Skype available on computers, mobile phones, TVs and even game consoles…today, we’ve got some exciting news. We’re starting to roll out a brand new way of using Skype. Now, not only can Skype be used on just about any screen you lay your hands on, but you can also enjoy Skype on a browser. Welcome, Skype for Web (Beta),” Skype team member Jonathan Watson wrote on Friday.
Limited Access to Skype Web
There are some things you need to know about Skype for Web before you seek to start using it, however. First, Skype for Web is currently available for a limited Skype user base – which means that, unless the Skype team invites you to use it, you won’t get to test the service. Whether Skype is sending out random invitations to random users or regular users are getting preferential treatment for the beta service has not yet been disclosed by the Skype team or disclosed elsewhere.
Next, Skype for Web will allow you to access Skype from a select number of Web browsers. According to the Skype team, only “Internet Explorer, Chrome on Windows, Firefox or Safari” quality for Skype for Web. In other words, Chrome users on Chromebook devices running Android won’t qualify unless users download Mozilla Firefox.
Mac OS users won’t be able to access the new Skype for Web feature with Google’s Chrome web browser, but Safari will qualify (fortunately). Apple already introduced its own voice call capabilities into Mac OS X Yosemite, and Google’s provided its own voice calling and video chat capabilities into Gmail so that Mac OS users can access them – so we’re not sure whether Skype for the beta will help these users.
As for the exact nature of web browser compatibility for the new service, Microsoft says that you’ll need to have at least Safari 6 or higher (on Mac OS), or the latest versions of Chrome and Firefox (on Windows devices). Internet Explorer 10 and above will also qualify for the new web browser service.
Last but not least, there are bugs in the new Skype for Web service (as to be expected), such as battery draining issues for Mac users running Skype for Web on Safari, and that video call connection times are slower than normal.
To read more, head on over to the new Skype for Web announcement to get started. Also, let us know if you’re one of the new Skype for Web invitees that gets to try out the new service.