Once upon a time, Skype was the household name when it came to voice communications over the Internet. Today, that pie has been munched up by many services and companies, like Slack for teams and businesses. As part of its attempt to reclaim lost ground, Microsoft has spread Skype far and wide with new features and new audiences. It latest trick? Making it possible to use Skype without having to sign up for an account first. Together with its free tier, Microsoft has just made it far too simple for people from all over the world to get connected.
Free service plus no sign up process. What’s not to love? Of course, there are limitations to this setup, but for ad hoc or rare chats, the limitations might be negligible.
The biggest requirement is that this new feature basically applies to Skype for Web. Specifically, to start an ad hoc conversation, you have use Skype’s browser interface and “log in” as a Guest. Once the chat room is set up, you will be given a unique link you can send to anyone you want to join in on the chat. Those clicking on the link can also use Skype for Web without signing up or, if they already have Skype accounts, use any of the service’s client apps.
This new system works not just for one on one chats but even for group instant messaging, voice, and video calls. You can have as many as 300 people in the chat room typing, or up to 25 people on a voice call conference. And that’s all for free even!
The limitation, however, is that once you’ve all left the chat, there’s no way to go back. History isn’t saved, so you’ll have to create a new chat room each time. You also can’t call a landline or mobile this way, or use any of the advanced features like Skype Translator. Again, fairly inconsequential limitations for using a service once, or rarely, at a moment’s notice.