Last month, Microsoft released a major update to its Outlook.com email. This is currently being deployed as part of a preview, but only a few users will be affected at first.
This update to Outlook.com brings a new inbox and new features, and also comes with a new version of Skype. An overhaul of the integration of Skype, the deployment of which is finally announced for all Outlook.com users and not just those of Outlook.com preview.
However, the new version of Skype is in beta and before all Outlook.com users are served, it may take a few weeks or even months. The goal is in any case to facilitate the transitions between conversations by email and Skype.
A new Skype button is available in the Outlook.com toolbar and opens a Skype pane on the right. From this pane, the user will be able to search and access contacts as well as see those who are online. Adding Skype contacts directly to Outlook.com is also part of the game.
It is possible to start or reply to conversations and view recent conversations. These conversations are with a single interlocutor or with a group. They can be taken back to the place where they were left from other platforms thanks to synchronization across all devices.
A text conversation is automatic but for audio or video calls, a browser plugin is still required. Small disappointment therefore, Microsoft is not yet at the stage of without plugin for Skype in the browser such as Firefox with Firefox Hello.
However, tangible signs have been given with work on the support in Internet Explorer of the ORTC API – Object Real-Time Communications – part of the WebRTC project. An implementation that is also in development for Microsoft Edge.
Skype for Windows on the desktop has also just received an update to correct the critical bug of the eight characters "http: //:". Skype updates for Android and iOS are also available. Skype for Mac also introduces sending files with one click and dragging and dropping images directly into the input area.