Microsoft is launching a new Video Messages feature for Skype this week. The company has been working on the feature for a number of months, having previously revealed it a little early, and it debuts on iOS, Android, and Mac. Designed for online and offline messaging, Video Messages lets Skype users send up to three minutes of video to each other. Although it won't initially be available for Windows users, those using the Skype for Windows or Skype for Windows Phone will receive the messages with a link to view them online.
The feature works on Android and iOS by using the front facing camera, with an option to switch to the rear. You can send up to three minutes of video to users who are either online or offline and the video will be delivered in the chat part of Skype. The Mac client is very much the same, but there's an optional to download the video messages you receive. It's certainly no Vine rival as the feature doesn't let you record in loops, but Skype tells us that it's an early beta still in testing.
"We’re pleased that there’s interest for Video Messaging to come to Skype for Windows and Skype for Windows 8," says a Skype spokesperson in response to Windows availability. "We’ll let you know when we expand the service to the platform." We tested the feature out on all available platforms and it seems to sync the video messages just as you'd expect. If you want to download the messages on the Mac side, they're available in MP4 format. The Video Messages feature is available to all US and UK Skype users initially, with a rollout to other countries expected in the future.
Update: Microsoft informs us that the Skype Video Messages feature is part of Skype Premium. After 20 free messages you'll have to subscribe to Skype Premium for $4.99 a month to continue using the feature.
Update 2: It looks like users of Microsoft's operating system won't have to wait too long to join in. A Skype spokesperson has informed us that send capability should be coming to Windows by the end of April.