April 30, 2013
Skype Launches In-The-Browser Video Calling For Outlook
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Video phones like those seen in numerous science fiction movies and TV shows such as “The Jetsons” still haven´t actually arrived, but Skype and Apple´s Facetime have been the next best thing. However, Facetime is still limited to Apple devices while Skype has required a proprietary client that necessitated a download. The Skype program would also have to run in the background.
Last summer Microsoft announced Skype video calling via the web throughout its updated Outlook.com would be soon to arrive. Now this week it is finally arriving. Skype is being offered through Outlook.com users´ inboxes, and a preview of the service is rolling out to users in the UK with users in America and Germany on board “in the coming weeks,” according to Cnet.
In a Skype company blog post on Monday it noted users will soon, “Type less. Talk More. Make Skype Calls Directly From Your Outlook.com Inbox.”
“Even with the best email service, sometimes text isn´t enough. We all face those situations where it´s just easier to jump on a call to talk something through. Sometimes that quick call can accomplish more than a long email reply. That´s why we are bringing Skype audio and video calling to your Outlook.com inbox. Now, with Skype for Outlook.com, you can choose the right medium for your message, whether it is an email, call, video call or instant message (IM) – you can connect with your Skype and Messenger friends all in the same place,” the company posted.
The Redmond, Washington-based software giant had previously promised Skype integration with its Outlook.com service and last November even announced Skype would integrate with Messenger — the company´s long running instant messaging program.
Skype offers free voice and video calls between Skype users and low cost options for placing voice calls to landlines and mobile phones throughout the world. Microsoft had acquired the Voice Over IP (VoIP) service in 2011 for $8.6 billion.
At the time, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said, “Skype is a phenomenal product and brand that is loved by hundreds of millions of people around the world. We look forward to working with the Skype team to create new ways for people to stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues — anytime, anywhere.”
That “anywhere” does now seem to include the web, and from Outlook.com users will be able to respond to an email with a voice or video call.
With this new integration with Outlook.com, users won´t have to download the full Skype client, and a browser plugin won´t be needed for the instant messaging using Skype. However, a plugin for audio and video calls will still be required. Customers with an existing Skype account will be asked to link Skype and Outlook.com when using the latter web-based service. This in turn will allow users to add all Skype and Outlook.com contacts together.
The Skype plugin is available now to users in the UK with the United States and Germany to follow soon, and it is compatible for the “most recent versions of Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox.”