Making your software easy for people to use is one of the best ways to increase user numbers since roadblocks, even simple ones, are enough to turn some people off. That’s why Microsoft has put a lot of time and energy into getting Skype into browsers without the need for a plug-in, and that functionality will finally come to pass with a future update for its new Edge browser.
This has been made possible by the new ORTC API preview which showed up in the new Insider Preview of Windows 10. This allows for the development of real-time audio and video communications on top of and within the Edge browser. That means Skype can come part and parcel with the browser, without the need for any additional installations.
While not quite ready just yet, within the next couple of months we can expect Microsoft to enable this new feature, which may increase Skype’s already enormous user base further.
Enabling Skype is just the beginning however. Microsoft also said in an update (via Engadget) that it plans to further develop its online web communications using the new API, potentially creating group video calling platforms, with different people, using different browsers and different operating systems.
Of course, those other browsers will still need to use the Skype plug-in for now. As it stands now, although Chrome and Firefox do support WebRTC, they aren’t able to use Microsoft’s messaging service without an extension. Perhaps that will change in the future, but with Google having its own Google Chat and Google Hangouts via its Plus service, it may not be quite so keen to push for an alternative.
Of course there are a lot of alternatives to Skype too. Which VOIP and video calling programs do you utilize on a regular basis?