Microsoft announced today that anyone can now make a Skype call via the web without first creating an account.
“We’ve made it easier than ever for you to connect with anyone on Skype, without needing to register or even download it,” a post by the Skype team to the Skype News blog reads. “By joining Skype as a Guest, you can quickly chat, voice or video call without any hassle. [It’s] perfect if you’re new to Skype and want to quickly chat with someone, anywhere in the world, for free.”
To try this for yourself, navigate to Skype.com with your web browser and select the “Start a conversation” button (in the center of the window, next to “Sign in.”) Then, enter your name and click “Start a conversation.” Skype for web will then start a new conversation.
These Guest conversations work a bit differently than a normal Skype conversation, where you specifically call one or more contacts and then start conversing. In this case, the conversation is empty, and you need to send a conversation link to others (by email, for example) so that they can join. Recipients will be prompted to choose the Skype client they prefer on PC. For example, here I used Skype for Windows desktop to have a sad little conversation with myself.
According to Microsoft, Guest access to Skype provides access to all of Skype’s free features, including one-to-one and group instant messaging, voice and video calls, screen sharing and file sharing. And it works with up to 300 people for chat and up to 25 people for voice or video. Each conversation can last up to 24 hours.
What you don’t get are premium features such as real-time conversation translations with Skype Translator, the ability to call a landline or mobile phone, or the ability to return to a conversation after 24 hours.