If you’re a heavy Skype user (like me), Microsoft has opened up a new way to use the service — that is if you live in the United States or the United Kingdom. The new Skype for Web (which is currently in beta) allows you to leave the desktop client behind and Skype with your closest contacts straight from your favorite web browser.
Getting started with Skype for Web is a rather simple affair; all you have to do is point your browser to web.skype.com and login with your Skype credentials. Before you begin, you may be asked to install a plugin to allow audio and video calls (or at least I was asked); from there, you’re treated to the familiar Skype interface that you receive with the desktop client.
You’ll notice right away that your contacts and recent conversations sync over seamlessly, and Skype for Web even includes a new Timeline View that provides a “single, searchable list that makes it easier to start new conversations and find existing ones.”
“Skype for Web is perfect if you normally use Skype on your mobile, but want to quickly get to your calls and IMs on a bigger screen,” said Jonathan Watson, Senior Product Marketing Manager, User Reach & Engagement at Skype. “Or perhaps you’re sitting at a Windows or Mac computer in an internet café or hotel that doesn’t already have Skype downloaded.”
And what about notifications? Microsoft has you covered there as well. Skype for Web supports desktop notifications so that you won’t miss an incoming message or video call. In addition, it doesn’t matter if your browser isn’t the current active window, your Skype notifications will still come through with a visual and audio notification.
The Skype for Web Beta is currently compatible with all of the major browser platforms available including Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari. And there’s no doubt that Skype for Web will also have full support for the brand new Microsoft Edge web browser when Windows 10 launches on July 29.
For Skype users that don’t currently reside in the U.S. or UK, Microsoft will rollout Skype for Web worldwide “in the next few weeks,” so stay tuned!