Microsoft focuses on simplifying Skype after users find its calling and messaging ‘overcomplicated’.
Microsoft’s Skype team has launched the new Skype for Web, meaning all your Skype calls can be made from the browser without having to install the app.
Skype for Web has many of the features it showed off in preview last October, including high-definition video calling, Skype-to-Skype call recording, and a notifications panel.
There’s also a search box within chats for finding messages in the current conversation and a chat media gallery for finding files, links, and photos shared in a conversation. This feature should save time compared with scrolling through chat history.
As with the preview, Microsoft notes in a blogpost that the new Skype for Web requires Windows and MacOS 10.12 or higher and the latest versions of Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge.
That means Skype for Web won’t work on a Chromebook or on an Ubuntu or any other Linux machine, and nor will it work in the Firefox browser.
This limitation annoyed some fans during the Skype for Web preview, who were obliged to install the desktop app. It’s sure to annoy more Firefox and Linux users now that Skype for Web is more widely available.
Meanwhile Windows 7 users may be able to sign in but might get a hobbled version of Skype for Web. And it’s not supported on mobile devices.
Users on anything but the supported device and browser will simply get an error message such as ‘Browser not supported’ and a suggestion to use Edge or Chrome, or to download the Skype app.
Skype for Web is basically identical to the app, allowing users to update the activity status, access the Skype profile, add credit, get a Skype number, and access Settings. The search box, dial pad, chats and other buttons also look and behave the same.
Microsoft’s first Skype for Web beta arrived in 2015, at which point it did support Chromebook and Linux and in 2016 enabled calling to mobile and landlines.
“Skype has always been about bringing people together. We continue to be driven by the opportunity to connect our global community of hundreds of millions of users, empowering them to feel closer and achieve more together,” Microsoft said in a blogpost.
Microsoft has also released the updated MSI distributable for Skype version 8 for Windows desktop. This replaces the existing MSI distributable of Skype version 7 for Windows desktop. Admins can download the new MSI file to Skype 8 via their distribution software.