Want to make a video call to a Skype contact, but don’t want to install Skype on your computer? Now you can just use your web browser. Well, maybe.
Skype launched a limited beta of Skype for Web last year, and now it’s open to anyone in the US or UK. But you’ll need to install a plugin and you’ll also need to be using a supported web browser and operating system.
If you’re using Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer or Safari on a Mac or Windows computer, you should be good to go. Just login to your account from the Skype web page and then click the “Try Skype for Web (Beta) link.” Or you can go straight to Skype for Web by visiting web.skype.com.
The first time you run Skype for Web, you’ll be asked to install a plugin to enable voice and video calling. Without the plugin you can still write text messages to your contacts, but that’s it.
Since plugins aren’t available for Chrome OS
or Linux, you’ll also have to make do with text-based communications if you want to use Skype for Web on a Chromebook … which is a shame, because honestly that’s the platform that would probably benefit most from a web-based Skype app since there’s no way to install a desktop Skype app on a Chromebook.
It’s possible that future versions of Skype for Web might be able to work on Chrome OS and Linux. The web app is designed to leverage the webRTC (real-time-communications) protocol, which means one day you might be able to use Skype for Web without installing a plugin.