Skype is rolling out a new feature to makes it easier to host online video meetings.
Dubbed ‘Meet Now,’ the feature takes a page out of Zoom’s book by letting Skype users generate shareable meeting links. Then, anyone with the link can quickly join the Skype meeting, no sign-ups or downloads required.
It’s a fairly simple system. Users can quickly create a meeting on Skype’s website with a click. Once the unique meeting link is active, you can share it via Outlook or Gmail, or copy it to your clipboard to send it another way. Anyone can join using the link, even if they’re not on Skype. Plus, the links don’t expire, so you can continue to access the free meeting space in the future.
If you’re using a computer, the link will open the Skype web app and you’ll be free to join the call. If you don’t have a Skype account, you’ll join as a visitor.
On mobile, things are a little different. The link will automatically open in the Skype app if it’s installed on your phone. If it isn’t, the link directs you to the app store on your phone to download Skype so you can participate.
— Skype (@Skype) April 3, 2020
Unfortunately, there are a few caveats. The first is that the Meet Now feature only works with Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome. If you use Safari or Firefox, you’ll need to download the Skype app instead.
The other caveat stems from Zoom. That free video conferencing app recently adjusted how it handles meeting links because online trolls were abusing the system to take over meetings and share graphic content (called ‘Zoombombing’). Zoom added passwords by default to meetings, along with a new waiting room feature to give hosts more control over who can join a meeting in hopes of reducing the ‘Zoombombing’ antics.
Depending on how Skype handles its Meet Now links, the platform could become the next Zoom. Hopefully Microsoft learned a lesson or two from Zoom before implementing Meet Now.