Skype For Web Now Available Directly In Your Browser
Looks like you’re lucky if you live in either the USA or UK because Skype for Web (beta) is now available to try without an invite.
The new browser-based version of Skype will allow the user to make voice and video calls without the need to install the main Skype desktop app. Right now it is working only on Internet Explorer and Google Chrome on Windows, and only Safari for Mac OS X.
So why has Microsoft released a browser based version of Skype? It seems, according their press release that “hundreds of millions of people told us they want to call and IM when they visit our website.” And went on to add “We know how critical it is for you to get to your conversations — and Skype for Web helps you get connected anytime.”
Even though Microsoft has released Skype for web, their longterm plan is to use a new API called ORTC (Object Real-Time Communications) currently being developed jointly by Microsoft, Google, and others. However, this new API is not finished, and it looks like the new Microsoft brower Edge is the only one ready to support it. Hence until it’s ready and other browsers become compatible with the new API, Skype for Web, which currently depends on a range of browser plugins and extensions, will fill the gap.
Please note, this is a beta version at the moment, so there is a few quirks and teething problems. Peter Bright over at Ars Technica gave it quite a run over on various platforms and browsers.
The best performer seems to be Internet Explorer 11 in Windows 8.1, with everything working exactly as you would expect to as in the full Skype app but integrated into the browser window. Some things weren’t the same such as full-screen mode (going full screen just filled the browser window, not the screen, I guess this is so as it is in the browser!), and that there appears to be no configuration setup at all. So if you have multiple webcams or audio inputs, well then Skype for web will pick one all by itself.
With OS X, Safari seems to be supported browser which didn’t work 100% as you think it should, any attempt to start a video call crashed the browser but then answering video calls didn’t crash, but you only had only audio working.
The way Chrome in Windows works is that it uses a combination of an extension and a separate executable (presumably to work around Chrome’s removal of plugin support). This isn’t as tidy as the Internet Explorer plugin, with Skype video instead being displayed in a separate pop up window. But when tested the window appeared to be not working and outgoing calls never reached their recipients, and incoming calls never successfully picked up, not cool!
So if you are interested in trying Skype for web, head over to here for more how-to information.