In welcome news for anybody who has fumbled around on an unfamiliar computer to download and install Skype for an important call, Microsoft has announced a beta version of the popular telecommunications application for web browsers. Skype for Web will at first be available on an invitation-only basis and for select browsers, with plans to roll out globally in the following months.
Through Skype.com, users will be able to log into their Skype accounts and access the instant messaging, voice and video chat functions without needing to download a desktop app. For Windows users, Skype for Web will support Internet Explorer 10 or later and the newest versions of Chrome and Firefox. Mac users will need to fire up Safari 6 or later.
Initially, Skype for Web will require a plug-in to function, though Microsoft claims this to be temporary. Last month in a blog post it detailed its grand plans to make Real-Time Communications (RTC) a reality for browser-to-browser video and audio transmission.
Predominantly, this means making browser calls as simple as possible by eliminating the need for plug-ins. But for this to eventuate, a standard must first be agreed upon for the best way to deliver audio and video across different browsers.