Microsoft implements Skype group chat to Office Online

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) has added Skype group chat to Office Online, allowing users to Skype chat by simply clicking on the chat button while editing in Office Online. The company already announced this update in November Microsoft may extend this feature to Excel Online and OneNote some time later.

The feature will also allow users to continue their Skype chats started in Office Online even after the file is closed. The integration also underscores Microsoft’s focus on making its services into cross-platform tools.

The new feature will allow users to easily track online status of colleagues and communicate with them through Skype group chats instead of long e-mail threads. Users can start using this update through their Microsoft account and linking their Skype account with it.

Microsoft noted in a blog that the company is committed to improving Skype experience for OneDrive, and now in Office Online.

Microsoft has also released a test version of Skype that enables users to make calls directly from web browsers without requiring installing special applications. However, initially it was made available few existing users and will be gradually rolled out for all.

Skype for web would allow more users to enjoy the experience even from their personal computer, hotel computer, or Internet cafe not having downloaded Skype applications.

Skype was launched in August 2003 and over a decade it now accounts for more than two billion minutes of Internet calling. It was originally developed by two Scandinavian technology entrepreneurs, and Microsoft bought it from them in 2011 for $8.5 billion.

Skype allows making high-quality Internet calls anywhere in the world for free through tailored applications for computers, smart TVs, smartphone, and tablets. Subscription packages are also available for Internet-to-fixed line or wireless connections.