Microsoft announced on Friday that its newest web browser, Microsoft Edge will now support plugin-free Skype voice, video and group video calls. Along with the new update for Skype for Web, other Microsoft services including Outlook.com, Office Online and OneDrive are also going to provide a similar user experience starting today.
To preview this experience, you can visit Skype for Web in Microsoft Edge on EdgeHTML version 13.10586 or newer, available with Windows 10 version 1511. Unfortunately, the service isn’t available in any of the other leading browsers in the market, currently. Microsoft, though, is planning to port the service to other browsers, like Chrome, in the near future.
The plugin-free service exploits the ORTC media engine that was embedded into Edge last fall. This engine, according to the Redmond giant, allows developers to build experiences that include the ability to talk to Skype users as well as other WebRTC-compatible communication services.
Other browsers like Chrome and Firefox require support of the H.264 video codec, which is currently under development, to support plugin-free audio and video calling service.
Microsoft says that currently all Skype one-to-one and group voice and video calls to and from Microsoft Edge browsers are plugin free and all Skype one-to-one calls from Microsoft Edge to the latest versions of Skype for Windows and Skype for Mac are also plugin free.
This development comes at a time when Microsoft is trying to expand the popularity of Skype. Allowing users to use Skype without a plugin or a specified client gives users flexibility and which, in turn, will increase the number of users.
Along with all the ups, the new service has a few flaws, too. Here they are as listed by the developers themselves:
Browser availability: Skype for Web plugin free calling is enabled for Microsoft’s Edge browser on Windows 10 version 10.0.10586 and above
Missing features: Some features like Screen sharing and Calling landlines and mobiles require you to install a plugin.