Microsoft today announced a small but significant update to Skype for Web: Guest accounts. If you want to start a Skype conversation with someone quickly and don’t want to sign up for an account, this is for you.
Skype for Web made it possible to use the service without first downloading Skype. Now, Skype for Web lets you chat and make voice or video calls without even having an account.
All you have to do is go Skype.com, hit “start a conversation,” and add your name. You will then be given a link that you can share with whomever via email or a social network. Anyone who clicks the link can join using their Skype app, or as a Guest if they’re using Skype for Web. You can invite up to 300 people to chat and up to 25 people on a voice or video call for free.
These conversations are set to last for 24 hours. If you want to use other features, like continuing the conversation longer, calling a phone number, or translating a conversation in real-time with Skype Translator, you’ll need to log in or get a Skype account.
This is a great addition to the Skype service, though it’s coming incredibly late. Think about how you would share such a link: Aside from email, most of the existing options already offer you a way to chat or make a call.
In other words, while guest accounts do reduce the barrier to entry for Skype, chances are usage will be low. Nobody is going to go get a link to start a Skype call when they can just hit the call button in Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, Line, and so on.