15th Mar, 2016 / Sofiann McKerrellSofiann McKerrell

A collage of all the new features of Skype for the Web – dial mobile phones, watch YouTube video and invite non-Skype users
Image source: TechCrunch

Microsoft's Skype for Web is getting new features that will keep it competitive with its mobile and desktop counterparts. Users now have the ability to do so much more with the communications software.

  • Directly call mobile phones and landlines from Skype
  • Watch YouTube videos right on Skype
  • Add non-Skype users to a conversation
  • Receive notifications of IM, calls or pictures sent

According to Microsoft, the new features, as well as the decision on which should be launched first, are based on user feedback.

The browser-based version of Skype now has the ability to dial landlines and mobile phones right from the browser. You must have Skype credit or subscription to use the feature. Once signed in on Skype, simply click on the phone call tab, choose a destination where you want to call, dial the number and hit the call button.

Skype assures affordable international calls, as direct calls are offered at low rates.

To watch YouTube videos, you only need to hit the play button and these will play instantly right in Skype. Whenever someone posts a link of a YouTube video, an embedded playable video will show up. Once clicked, you get the full features of a YouTube video as if you're watching it from the website itself, such as full screen controls and volume adjust.

Adding non-Skype users to a conversation is designed to reduce the barrier to using the browser-based version of the communications software, a feature that exists on other platforms. To invite others to chat, simply use the unique links that the invitee can click to join the conversation. No need for non-subscribers to download Skype or create an account. To send an invitation, press the +New button and then Share Conversation. You will be given a link that you can share any way you want.

The notifications added to Skype for Web ensures a user never misses an important call or IM. As long as you are signed in, you will be alerted of incoming messages or calls, even when you are using another application or browser tab.

The addition of these new features comes at a critical time when Skype is being threatened by newcomers, such as Slack, which offers users the ability to call from the Chrome browser. Slack is challenging Skype to make more improvements. Microsoft is responding by saying the features added to Skype for Web are just the first of the many that the company plans to introduce in the coming months.

Skype for Web was introduced last year June 2015. The Beta version was available in major browsers, offering users an advantage over local client. 

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