Skype has brought in a new type of video call whereby no one has to sign up for an account to join the chat, in a similar convenient vein to Zoom – except in the case of Skype, not even the host needs to sign up for the service, or install anything.
Skype describes the new Meet Now feature as a “hassle-free way to connect” with other folks that doesn’t require signing up to any account, or downloading any software.
You can simply head over to a web page and start a meeting in a few clicks directly from there, inviting anyone you wish, who can then subsequently join just as easily.
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For those who do have the Skype client already installed, you can start the meeting from within the software if you prefer, and obviously easily invite your existing Skype contacts, or equally those who don’t have the program installed.
The meeting link doesn’t expire, and the video call isn’t limited in terms of the functionality available. You get in-line chat and reactions, and the ability to blur the background (if you haven’t had time to tidy up your study at home before a meeting, for example). You can also share your screen for work or instructional purposes, and even record the call if you wish (recordings are stored for a period of 30 days).
If you want to fire up a Meet Now session in your browser, head here, or in your Skype client, click the Meet Now button (next to New Chat) in the left-hand sidebar.
Zoom and gloom
As you’ve doubtless seen, Zoom has experienced a massive surge in user numbers due to the coronavirus lockdown, and folks staying – or working – from home taking advantage of how easy it is to set up meetings.
However, this spike in usage has cast a harsh spotlight on Zoom’s security, with a lot of worries and question marks over how tight it may be, with various flaws in Mac and Windows security having recently been highlighted.
For its part, Zoom has said it’s freezing any product development to focus on tightening up security, with a comprehensive review planned – and its entire engineering team will be working on this.
To compound Zoom’s misery, however, it seems like the service’s infrastructure is groaning under the weight of all these new users too, as we have recently seen outages in Europe and the US.
So Zoom is struggling to juggle a lot of balls in terms of maintaining service right now, perhaps while applying updates as per the engineering team’s instructions, and it seems that Skype wants to capitalize on this by trying to tempt users away from its rival with a similarly easy-to-use and convenient video call offering.
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).