Published On: Wed, May 1st, 2013

Outlook.com users start getting ability to make Skype calls from their inbox

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Microsoft has rolled out a preview version of Skype for Outlook.com, bringing voice and video calling functionality to Outlook.com inboxes.According to Microsoft, the preview is being rolled out in the United Kingdom and will reach users in the United States and Germany in the coming weeks. The service will be made available to all Outlook.com email users in the coming months.

The preview version of Skype for Outlook.com allows users to make Skype video and audio calls right from within their inbox in addition to sending instant messages via the service. Users need to download a plugin for their browser, which is available for the most recent versions of Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox, after which they can connect Skype to Outlook.com using their Microsoft account. Users who have an existing Skype account would be able to link their Skype and Outlook.com in a few steps, and merge them. The process allows users to add all of their Skype contacts to their Outlook.com contacts. They’ll be able to see online users under the messaging section and send them text messages. Clicking on the contacts’ display picture will bring a calling menu that will allow them to initiate a voice or video call. The same can also be done via the People Hub.

It’s worth pointing out that Messenger users who have upgraded to Skype will also appear in the users’ contact list. The move is natural with Microsoft migrating Messenger users to Skype. Messenger was integrated with Microsoft’s Hotmail/ Live email services.

For the uninitiated, Outlook.com is a free personal email service from Microsoft. Microsoft claims that the service signed up 60 million new users in the first six months after its launch.

Outlook.com’s competitor, Google’s Gmail already offers text, voice and video chat within the inbox. In fact Google is said to be working towards consolidating all its chat services under one brand, in the near future.

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