Microsoft has launched a preview of Skype in Outlook.com for users located in the United Kingdom, with those located in the United States and Germany being slated to get the preview "in the coming weeks." Following the full preview roll out will be the switch from preview mode, with video and audio calling being offered across the entire expanse of Outlook.com via Skype sometimes in the coming months. Hard dates weren't provided for any of the planned roll outs.
The preview mode of Skype enables video and voice calls from within an Outlook.com inbox, reducing the number of words you have to type in communication, says Microsoft, by making it easy to make a phone call instead. If a phone call isn't the right solution, a video call is also possible, and if neither of those work for you, instant messaging video Skype is also possible from within a user's inbox.
If a video is worth a thousand words, the brief video above should give you a pretty good idea of how the service works, which shows a video call being placed from within an email by selecting the contact's image and then the relevant Skype button. Needless to say, the user must have a Skype account to use the service, with the account and Outlook.com accounts being merged.
The new feature is available via a browser plugin, which is available for Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox. Contacts can be merged from Skype with Outlook contacts once the plugin is downloaded and the accounts tied together. If you're a frequent user of both Skype and Outlook.com, you'll be guaranteed to have the preview by this summer, possibly sooner if you're located in either the US or Germany.