Following yesterday’s news of its planned support for group calling on mobile, Skype just launched an integration with Microsoft’s mobile email and calendar application, Outlook. In the updated iOS app, a new setting allows you to turn on a “Skype Meeting” option when you’re either creating or editing an event within Outlook.
By doing so, Outlook automatically creates a Skype call link which is shared with other meeting participants, along with the other event information, like the date, time, and attendee list.
The feature, found in the “event” detail page, is accessed by simply tapping a toggle switch on or off. It’s also yet another example of how Microsoft is working to integrate its various products and services into Outlook mobile – a key starting point for expanding Microsoft’s mobile footprint, given that email is one of the most-used mobile apps on smartphones. (It’s also important to Microsoft to find other ways into the mobile market, as the company doesn’t have a large stake in the smartphone market itself.)
Already, Outlook allows its users to access Word, Excel or other Office documents that may be attached to messages, and then edit them in their corresponding application, as well as pull in files hosted on its own cloud storage service OneDrive, for example. Now it works with Skype, too.
By clicking the Skype call link’s “Join” button, participants will immediately taken to the site join.skype.com which first prompts you to download Skype, if it’s not already installed on your device. If you know you already have Skype available, you just tap “Join conversation” which then requests permission to launch the Skype app.
This transition could be a little more seamless – after all, if Skype is installed, running, and you’re signed in, it’s not clear why you still have to tap your way through this intermediary step (as we had to when testing this feature). Still, it’s a lot easier now to move from your email to the Skype call, thanks to this addition.
The feature is one of several changes rolling out to Skype users in recent days, including the above-mentioned support for free group calls on mobile, as well as today’s announcement involving support for Skype Translator having arrived for all Windows customers.
Other updates arriving today include new calendaring features in Outlook mobile, including a new two-week mini calendar and a 3-day view, plus improved navigation in the Android application which brings the main sections (Mail, Calendar, Files and People) to the bottom of the app.
Skype’s integration with Outlook will be available on both iOS and Android. A future update will deliver the feature to Outlook Mail on Windows 10 Mobile, says Microsoft.