Skype Brings Free Video Messaging Out Of Preview, Redefines ‘Visual Voicemail’

Posted: June 17, 2013 in Apps, GT
Tags: , , ,

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Skype has just announced that the previously beta
video messaging feature it’s been testing is now a
proper release feature of its Skype applications for
Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android and
BlackBerry. Video messaging on Skype simply allows
users to record a message for a contact to be viewed later, sort of like a video voicemail, instead of
requiring that any real-time communication
shenanigans happen. Asynchronous video is arguably the older form of
communication – I can still remember using the
parents’ old VHS camcorder to make tapes that we’d
later show grandma and grandpa, for instance. But
Skype has been slow to integrate it, and it’s possible
that the advent of recent startups including Glide, and to some extent Twitter’s Vine, which are focused
specifically on time-delayed video broadcasts, have
lit a fire under the Microsoft-owned company, lest
they get disrupted. Other competing apps like Viber
and various messaging platforms have also
previously offered the feature. The video messaging feature had previously been
available as a beta feature since February, with a cap
on the number of messages in place, and free
unlimited use relegated to those with premium
subscriptions. Luckily Skype seems not to have seen
much value in locking this feature behind a pay wall, unlike its screen sharing option, which is good news
for all. Video messaging scratches an itch that was
previously one of the major limitations of video
communication, which is, what do you do when the
other party isn’t available? All that intent gets lost as
you run up against the wall, and consumers are bound
to be less inclined to use a service like that should they encounter disappointment. At the very least
video messaging offers a way to act on that impulse
to connect via video, even if real-time communication
isn’t possible or practical. Skype entering the fray and offering multi-platform
support out of the starting gate may put a damper on
startups in this space, but we’ll have to see how
users respond to this addition to the Skype platform,
and whether people think Skype’s implementation is
strong enough to replace more feature-rich offerings from Glide and the like.

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