Tuesday 30 April 2013

Skype integration comes to Outlook.com in the UK, global rollout soon

Skype has finally come to Outlook.com. Back when Outlook was launched in July last year, Microsoft had promised users Skype integration with their accounts and nearly nine months later, it has kept its promise. Skype is rolling out a preview version of Skype for Outlook.com in the UK right now.

"Even with the best email service, sometimes text isn’t enough," reads the blog announcing the feature. "We all face those situations where it’s just easier to jump on a call to talk something through. Sometimes that quick call can accomplish more than a long email reply. That’s why we are bringing Skype audio and video calling to your Outlook.com inbox."

Available in only the UK currently, Skype in Outlook.com will be made available in the US and Germany “in the coming weeks.” The global rollout will only be coming “this summer” though. “In the coming months, audio and video calling powered by Skype will be available in every Outlook.com inbox,” reads the blog.

To install Skype in your Outlook.com inbox, you will require a one-time download of a plug-in for your browser. Currently, the most recent versions of Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox are supported. You will then be prompted to pair your Skype account with your Outlook one so you can make voice and video calls from your email inbox. This way, you will be able to add all of your Skype contacts to your Outlook.com contacts list for easy access.

While text messaging is supported using Skype too, you do not require the plug-in to access this feature. You can straight away start chatting using Skype from Outlook.com.

Outlook.com already boasts of having more than one million users in India. Microsoft’s revamped mail service would do well if it would roll out Skype integration for India soon. The wait sure seems to be worthwhile, though. Skype has become synonymous with VoIP calling and video chatting and its integration within Outlook is only bound to help both the services. Gmail and its Hangout feature better watch out!

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