Skype for Web Beta Rolled Out to U.S., U.K. Users

As more and more users gravitate toward mobile versions of their favorite software, Skype is joining the crowd by opening up access to its Skype for Web beta to make it easier to connect to the service. Microsoft's Skype for Web debuted as a closed beta last fall, but it is now available as an open beta to all users in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Skype for Web is not drastically different from SkypeEUs desktop version. It comes with support for messaging, audio calls and video chats using a real-time communications (RTC) plug-in, and it supports desktop notifications. Also, users can also search their contact list to start new messages, or find new contacts by searching the Skype directory.

Skype said its Web version is ideal for users who normally use Skype on mobile devices, but want to quickly get calls and IMs on bigger screens. It can also be handy for a user at a Windows or Mac computer in an Internet café or hotel that doesnEUt have Skype available.

Pushing RTC

As Skype explained during the betaEUs initial rollout at the end of last year, Skype for Web is an important part of the companyEUs move toward implementing the technology to make RTC on the Web a reality.

"But just as importantly, weEUre doing it because the hundreds of millions of people that visit every month told us they want to call and IM when they visit our Web site," said SkypeEUs Jonathan Watson in a blog post."

How is Skype for Web different from its desktop cousin? For one thing, it doesnEUt have the array of options for sorting and managing users' contact lists, and early users are reporting that some smaller features, such as the ability to change oneEUs Skype mood, are missing. Most...

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