June 18, 2013
Skype Announces Video Messaging Service
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Email, Facebook messages, SMS and phone calls all have at least one thing in common; the recipient doesn´t need to be using the same platform at the same time as the sender to receive their message. In other words, each of these forms of digital communication will be right there waiting for the recipient whenever they get the time to check the corresponding inbox. The same could not be said for one of the largest video messaging services until this week.Skype has finally announced the public arrival of its video messaging service, allowing their users to record three minute messages for one another without the necessity of the receiver being online as well. The service has been in beta testing since February and was only available to premium subscribers. Monday´s public release opens this feature up to Android, Blackberry, iOS, Mac, and Windows users. Noticeably absent is the Windows Phone platform, which is interesting considering Microsoft owns both entities.
“Skype Video Messaging adds another great way to keep in touch with friends and family during life´s most meaningful moments,” reads an official Big Blog entry by Yasmin Khan.
“Send a video message to your friends and family today–it´s easy. You can capture a fleeting memory, create a heartfelt reminder or simply tell a friend or family member “wish you were here” even when they aren´t online.”
Sending a message with this new feature is as easy as you would expect it to be. After selecting the person you´d like to send a Skype message to, tap the “video message” button. Then tap the record button and start shooting. Like any other video recording service (even the video recorder in iOS´ camera app) you´ll be able to scrap the first recording if the dog refuses to act on cue or if your kid doesn´t say the funny thing they were supposed to say just right. When your video looks just right, click the envelope icon to send it straight away to the intended recipient. According to Skype, only the person who receives the message will be allowed to see it.
This is one of those features which seems a little late to the Skype game. Every other messaging service gives receivers the choice as to when they´d like to act on an incoming message, yet to communicate on Skype requires both parties to be online and ready to use the service.
If they were ever going to release this kind of video messaging feature, now is the time to do it. Other messaging apps, like Kik, WhatsApp or Viber, have been offering this kind of service for a while. Though it serves a different purpose, Twitter´s Vine also likely drove Skype to get this feature out to users as soon as possible, and it seems like they couldn´t have chosen a better time to do so.
Though it too will likely serve an additional purpose, Instagram is now expected to release their own Vine competitor this week during a special press event. According to TechCrunch, an Instagram video service could allow users to share videos up to ten seconds long.
This kind of service could likely be more socially minded than Skype´s messaging feature. However, the use cases for each could easily overlap.
If Skype wants to play this ballgame, they´ve joined at the very last second.