Skype for Web no longer requires plugins, paving the way for Chromebook support

Microsoft first unveiled its Skype for Web service almost a year ago, but to make video or audio calls you needed to download a plugin or extension for your browser. Microsoft is now starting to roll out Skype for Web without any plugins, as part of the company's commitment to supporting the WebRTC standard.

Skype voice and video calls are supported, alongside group video and voice calling. Microsoft is only supporting the Edge browser initially on Windows 10, but the plan is to allow all browsers to access Skype for Web without plugins once Chrome and Firefox support the H.264 video codec. While video and voice calling works on the web, Skype screen sharing and calling landlines will still require a plugin.

Microsoft has been promising plugin free voice and video calling for Skype for some time now, and this is the first step to enabling the full service on devices like Chromebooks. Skype for Web without plugins enters preview today, and Microsoft hopes to finish the roll out by the end of April.

Comments

cannot wait, i have a lot of family in italy that literally only have windows PCs for skype at this point, if i can get them on chromebooks, all will be good.

Let them be on Windows PCs, what’s wrong in having Windows PC as they’re now as cheap as chromebooks.

and they already have Windows PCs, so there’s no cost. Looks like another MS hater trying to get their family to move to an inferior platform just because of their own misguided opinions.

This happens way more often than you would. These guys keep pushing Chromebooks at their friends, family and collegues… even though they are unable to switch their own workflow to the Chromebook completely.

Almost as if they resent providing all that free tech support whenever something goes wrong with the Windows machines. Hmm….

As someone who does freelance tech-support. I work on Chromebooks just as often. Most of the time its because someone doesn’t know how to do something trivial like setup a printer.

That’s interesting to hear, because that would mean that Chromebooks would require 20 to 50 times more support than Windows notebooks considering their market share. Add to that that Chromebook users are relatively poorer and thus can less often afford professional tech support (especially freelance support as that’s always paid vs for example customer support at the shop) and I totally call bullshit.

You mean another family "tech-guy" who is sick and tired of this role and don’t want to support Windows PC’s anymore? I can totally sympathize with this.

A Chromebook is still more performant than a similar priced PC and it’s essentially completely idiot-proof. I’ve given my mum a CB more than two years ago and haven’t had to give support once since.

You can achieve the same on Windows 10.

Set them up with standard user accounts and log them in with a Microsoft ID. Set up their documents to save to OneDrive by default.

On their own, they can only install sandboxed, curated software from the Windows Store. All updates to the OS and apps happen automatically, and their files are automatically backed up to the cloud. So, Chromebook like simplicity and safety on Windows.

Set up an administrator account to install legacy software and troubleshooting, but reserve the password for yourself, or provide it to someone else who can be trusted not to mess it up.

And yet, CBs do it out of the box, without any setup whatsoever.

you said what I was about to.

These are family members using Vista PCs on ancient hardware, updates that arent automatically done are done maybe 4 times a year when some family members visit.

moving them to chromebooks means that i can hand them a laptop (or chromebox or Chromebit) and they can still surf the web and do what they do, but i dont have to worry about doing updates for them, if something is wring its super easy to set up remote desktop on a chromebook, far easier than windows IMO.

Cost doesnt really come into it. sure i could get them windows laptops, but what do they really gain from that?. sure i could set them up as standard users, but as someone else stated above, thats another step, i can just give them the damn chromebook and its ready for them to use as soon as they type in their google details.

I use a windows PC i built daily, but most of my daily computing is done on my chromebook, i use both and see the benefits of both, i couldnt live without windows, but i dont want to live without my Chromebook either.

Because they don’t have all that extra functionality that you don’t want stupid people to access. Why would a Windows laptop be setup like a Chromebook by default? Most people want the freedom to use legacy applications and the OS how they please.

Most everything I mentioned is the default now when setting up new users on Windows 10 PC. (The first user account must be an admin of course, but even the accounts are protected by UAC.)

The point is that most of the reasons that people cite for choosing Chromebook over a Windows PC are no longer valid, yet all of the drawbacks of forcing all computing to be done in a web browser remain.

>A Chromebook is still more performant than a similar priced PC

My genuine haha to this phrase. It’s like comparing battery life of Nokia 8910i and iPhone 5S.

When is Skype coming to PS3 and PS4 to show Microsoft’s commitment to cross-platform Skype, per the purchase press release?

maybe sony doesn’t want it?

yes, they need a PS3/4 version to show their commitment to cross-platform.

They shouldnt keep Skype logged down to only Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android (including Kindle, and Amazon store for BlackBerry 10) and web

I wouldn’t go so far as to say they support Linux. It hasn’t been updated in ages and last I checked, it doesn’t even work anymore. Which is why this is so great. Linux users can finally get Skype calling.

@chrisssk I sense sarcasm!!!! You forgot PS Vita.

Most of those software had Skype prior to Microsoft buying Skype. It is like saying Minecraft on PS3 and PS4 proves Microsoft is committed to cross platform. I think the PS Vita came after Microsoft bought Skype. If so, that is the only one.

I hope this also means they will release a proper Chrome extension/app so I don’t have to use the desktop client any more (and so I can get full integration on a Chromebook)… but they probably won’t do that.

They also need to fix Skype Web on Safari, because I can’t get it to work there at all, not even text chat.

Yay, works in Edge

For those scratching your heads because you play back h264 videos using Chrome or Firefox, the issue as far as I can tell is specifically with Chrome’s support for WebRTC h264 support, which includes encoding as well. Google has long supported WebRTC using the open VP8/VP9 standards which I believe they’ve been using for a while now for plugin-less Hangouts. Skype is just playing catch up.

The following chromium bug report seems to cover the Chrome/Chromium h264 webrtc issue:

https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=500605

It appears that this functionality is available in the developer builds from the Canary channel, albeit not ready for prime time yet.

Does anyone use Skype? Isn’t it like Nokia phones, died off? Hangouts and Fb messenger do a much better job.

Don’t FB-video calls still use skype behind the scenes?

View All Comments
Back to top ↑