Microsoft today announced that it has made available a major update to Skype for Outlook.com that makes it easier to find friends and chat. This update comes just a day after the company announced major updates to the Skype clients for Windows and Mac.
This update doesn't appear to be quite as dramatic as the Windows and Mac client updates. And it also doesn't address my single biggest issue with Skype at the moment: I can't disable or uninstall Skype in Outlook.com. I need to do this—and this is a need, not a want—because this client rings continuously even when I've picked up a call with the Skype desktop client, which is maddening.
(And I've just learned that Outlook.com might be tied to my second biggest issue with Skype: It keeps suddenly signing me out of the Skype desktop client every day. Turns out that each Outlook.com tab is considered a new instance of the Skype client, and there is a limit to how many you can have. I do keep multiple tabs open regularly, so there you go.)
Anyway. Here's what's new with Skype for Outlook.com.
"Since we launched Skype on Outlook.com, we've been listening to your feedback, and heard loud and clear that starting chat sessions with friends wasn’t as easy as it could be," Microsoft's Karen Tong writes in a new post to the Skype Garage & Updates blog. "Today, we're excited to announce the worldwide availability of improvements to Skype for Outlook.com that makes it easier for you to find and chat with friends on Skype."
The new features are...
Improved contact list. If you have a friend in your address book (People), and that person has a matching Skype and Microsoft e-mail address, they will show up as a contact in Outlook.com's Messaging pane. Just click on their photo to add them to your Skype contact list.
New messaging features. Now you can participate in and create group chats: Just click on the "+" in a conversation to add people. You can also pick up conversations where they left off by opening the chat pane and clicking the ":-)" on the upper right.
If you're already using Skype for Outlook.com, you will get the update automatically. To perform video and audio calls, you will need to install a plug-in.