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    Saturday, April 4, 2020

    Skype Introduces ‘Meet Now’ Feature, Allows Quick Video Conference Calls

    Skype has introduced a new quick and easy way to conduct conference video calls, with the Microsoft-owned service probably making the move to compete with popularity of Zoom and Houseparty. 
    With millions of people currently connecting via online video and chat, Skype is promoting Skype Meet Now, a free, simple way of connecting via Skype without a subscription or even a download.

    Announced Friday, Skype Meet Now is essentially a web-based version of Skype, with additional conveniences: a permanent link that you can toss into a text message or email, background blurring, and even a stored cloud recording of the call and files. Users can go to the Skype Meet Now webpage, click the Create a free meeting link, and get a shared meeting link to send to friends.

    Skype Meet Now debuted as a Skype Insider feature in December, and has now emerged into the main release cycle. Microsoft acknowledged Skype Meet Now in passing at its big consumer services launch this week, though the company seems to be pushing Microsoft Teams—with its own integrated video and chat features, even for consumers—far more enthusiastically than the Skype application.

    Still, consumers are reaching out with Skype, whose usage has skyrocketed recently while large swaths of the United States is sheltering in place. Similar to the surge in popularity of its rival Zoom, Skype has seen an increase to 40 million daily users, up 70 percent month over month in March, Microsoft said recently.

    Using Skype Meet Now is simple: You create a free meeting, and Skype will launch its web app if you don’t already have the Skype app installed. Because the meeting link does not expire, you can reuse it. Calls can be recorded optionally and stored up to 30 days, Microsoft says, and shared media will be held “even longer,” according to the company. Up to 50 participants may be invited.

    Microsoft’s Skype Meet Now requires either the “new” Chromium-based Edge or Google Chrome itself, Microsoft said.
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