The Skype Team announced that users will soon be able to make audio and video calls through their browser without having to install any plugins.
The latest development comes along with the team's other announcement that the Object RTC API preview is now available on Microsoft Edge for the latest Insider build of Windows 10. Once Object RTC is up and running in Edge as a full feature, users can already start using the non-plugin version of Skype.
"Today, we're excited to share the news that the ORTC API preview for Microsoft Edge browser is now available in the latest Windows Insider Preview release!" said the Skype Team in its official blog. "The ORTC APIs enable the development of real-time audio and video communications applications on top of the Microsoft Edge browser, without the need to install any plugins - which means that people using Skype on a browser will be able to get to their conversations faster than ever on Skype for Web and Skype for Outlook.com."
Skype has been attempting to make its voice and video call services available on the web without the needed plug-ins since 2014.
Now, Microsoft has decided to develop Object RTC (ORTC) as a way to deal with the issues brought by what it considers a flawed WebRTC standard. The latter is said to be supported by Google and Mozilla, the developers of Chrome and Firefox respectively. Both are of course competitors to Edge.
In other words, Edge will be the only browser to support ORTC while Firefox, Chrome and Opera will support WebRTC. It should be noted that Apple supports neither of the APIs.
According to the Skype Team, the ORTC APIs will allow them to develop advanced real-time communications scenarios such as group video calls where all participants use various browsers and OSes. They will use features such as Scalable Video Coding (SVC) and Simulcast while the use of current telephony networks is preserved.
For now, users would have to wait until ORTC on Edge ends its preview phase. Microsoft said that the new Skype audio and video calling feature will launch before the year ends. The company also plans to bring the same seamless experience to users of Skype for Business.