Microsoft has been very busy with Edge this year, and the latest development with the browser is that fully integrated Skype calls have now been implemented.
In other words, there’s no need to make any download or install any plugin for the browser. Rather, anywhere you can use Skype in Edge – meaning Skype for Web, Office Online, OneDrive and Outlook.com – you’ll be able to make completely plugin-free voice or video calls (to another user or group).
These are baked right into the browser thanks to the ORTC media engine which was recently brought to Edge.
Do note, however, that currently this feature is in preview and being introduced gradually, although the rollout should be complete by the end of the month. Of course, as this is a preview for the time being, you may experience glitches and stuff Redmond still needs to iron out.
In its blog announcement, Microsoft noted that currently this feature will only work for one-to-one and group video and voice calls if the recipient (or all recipients) are also using Edge as well as yourself.
You can also make straight one-to-one calls from Edge to someone using Skype for Windows or Skype for Mac, providing they’re running the latest version of that software. If they aren’t, then you’ll still be prompted to install a plugin to be able to call them.
Note that some features are missing such as screen sharing and calling landlines or mobiles, and again for these you’ll need to install a plugin.
And of course no other browsers are supported yet, but Microsoft certainly plans to bring plugin-free Skype to Chrome and Firefox.
Plenty is going on with Skype at the moment, including most recently the introduction of multiple bots which can do various clever things: Summarize, for instance, can take a link to a website and summarise that page down to three paragraphs for easy digestion.