Skype is working to make is service more broadly accessible, Microsoft announced today, detailing a new feature that will allow users to invite anyone – even those who don’t have a Skype account – to use the service via the Skype for Web interface. Invitees won’t have to create an account or download an app, but can instead join a chat as a guest simply by clicking a link.
As a part of this rollout, Skype is introducing unique links that can be used to invite others to chats. The links can be shared however you choose – in email, via apps like Facebook, Messenger, Twitter or WhatsApp, or anywhere else that makes sense.
Skype account holders using the Mac, PC or Web application will be able to create the link, which, when clicked, will allow others, including those using Skype’s mobile apps on iOS or Android as well as non-users, to join in the conversation automatically.
In the case of those without Skype accounts, they’ll be able to sign in to a chat as a guest by typing in their name then clicking “Join.”
Microsoft says the feature is currently coming online for Skype users in the U.S. and U.K., but will be expanded to reach the rest of the world over the course of the next couple of weeks. To see if you have the option available, you can launch the latest version of Skype for Windows, Skype for Mac, or Skype for Web, then click “+New” to start your chat and generate the unique, sharable link.
The feature initially seems like just another handy way to get people together for a Skype chat without worrying about whether or not the recipient has the app downloaded and installed. However, it could impact the web conferencing space, too, as it may entice those who use often use the free or low-cost versions of online meeting software applications for more casual chats to use Skype instead. As Skype does well enough for smaller meetings with a few participants who only need to chat, message, share files or screenshare, the option to invite anyone could boost its usage.