We told you Microsoft released a redesigned version of Skype for the Mac earlier last month, and today Microsoft says the communication software is starting to roll out as a service on the Web. Skype for Web will allow users to chat, video call, and manage contacts from a web browser without having to download the Skype app. Microsoft is currently offering Skype for Web as a beta to select users. To participate in the Skype for Web beta, Microsoft says to log on to Skype.com where the browser-based version of the video calling will be and check for an invitation. The company says its making invitations available to a small number of users to start and will expand to users worldwide “in the coming months.”
Aside from requiring an invitation for accessing the beta, Skype for Web will also require for browser plug-in for now, so the goal of not having to download something extra on another machine isn’t quite met yet, but Microsoft says its working on that (at least for Internet Explorer).
Mac users with access to the Skype for Web beta will also want to be aware of some known issues with the beta. Microsoft says the Skype for Web beta can make outgoing calls take longer than normal to go out, and “battery consumption when running Skype for Web on a Mac” is currently a known issue.
For Mac users, Skype for Web is compatible with Safari 6 and higher so once you receive an invitation, you should be able to access it from OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion or higher. Skype for Web is also compatible with the latest version of Chrome and Firefox as well as Internet Explorer 10 for Windows.
Aside from redesigning Skype for Mac and introducing the Skype for Web beta, Microsoft recently released an overhauled version of Outlook for Mac and made Office for iPhone and iPad free including Dropbox integration. A new version of Office for Mac is coming in 2015.