Microsoft has been on a roll lately. In the last few weeks they’ve announced Dropbox support for Office files, been rumored to support more media options on OneDrive, opened up some aspects of Office for free on mobile, and just yesterday announced that their development platform .Net would become open source software. You wouldn’t be alone if you were confused, wondering where this new and improved Microsoft had come from. It seems they weren’t even done making waves, as today they’ve announced Skype for Web, currently in beta.
While they’re rolling out this option slowly to select users at first, this is yet another big step for Microsoft. Allowing Skype access from the web will obviously help people on public or shared computers that may not be able to install Skype’s software, but it’s also a realization from Microsoft that plenty of people are moving towards other options such as Google Hangouts, or Facetime for their video messaging and chatting needs.
In it’s current form, Skype for Web will require a plugin to be installed, but in the future the hope is to rely on the open WebRTC standard which allows for audio and video to be transmitted from one browser to another. Most all browsers either currently support, or have promised support for WebRTC in the near future. Once WebRTC support is enabed, even Chromebooks should be able to video chat using Skype. Even now, Skype for Web is at least partially functional on Chromebooks. Slashgear heard from Microsoft that instant messaging will work for now, with full functionality coming once WebRTC is in use. I guess that crosses off one of Microsoft’s reasons not to buy a Chromebook!
What do you think about Microsoft’s new moves? Have any of you gotten into the Skype for Web beta? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter.