You no longer need to download an app to make voice or video calls over Skype, the Microsoft-owned chat company announced Friday, as it unveiled a browser-based solution called "Skype for Web."
Skype for Web lets users make voice and video calls directly in the browser of their choice by visiting Skype.com. It requires users to install a plugin, but not the full Skype software. Skype for Web is currently in beta and will roll out to more users over the next few months.
"Skype for Web makes it quicker and easier than ever before to connect with friends, family and colleagues around the world, for free – directly from Skype.com," the company said in a blog post. "It’s perfect if you prefer using the web rather than an app: perhaps you’re sitting at a computer that doesn’t already have Skype downloaded. Or maybe you’re on the go and using an internet café or hotel computer whilst on vacation where you can’t download Skype at all."
Microsoft rival Google has offered free in-browser voice and video chats for several years through Google Talk and Google Hangouts. Skype's move towards a browser-based solution reflects larger recent efforts by Microsoft to develop cross-platform software that works on multiple devices.