Microsoft announced this morning that Skype for Web (Beta) is now available for users in the United States and the United Kingdom. This service is a second way to access Skype on the web, the other being Skype for Outlook.com, which was announced earlier this week.
“Skype for Web is an important step for Skype as we move towards implementing the technology to make Real-Time Communications (RTC) on the web a reality,” Microsoft’s Jonathan Watson explains in a post to the Skype Garage & Updates blog. “But just as importantly, we’re doing it because the hundreds of millions of people that visit Skype.com every month told us they want to call and IM when they visit our web site. We know how critical it is for you to get to your conversations – and Skype for Web helps you get connected anytime.”
Microsoft is positioning Skype for Web for those users who normally access Skype on a mobile device but have occasional need to use the service on a PC. I suspect it will be a nice choice for those using a PC that is owned by another person or their employer as well: all you need to do is live in the US or UK, navigate to web.skype.com and sign-in.
Everything works as expected—instant messages, audio calls, video calls—though you will need a plug-in for audio and video, as you do with the Outlook.com-based solution. (Unfortunately, this plug-in does not yet work with Chrome OS.) You can even get notifications through the browser, which is pretty cool.
And if you live outside the US or UK, take heart: Microsoft says it will continue to roll-out Skype for Web worldwide in the next few weeks.