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Skype for Web lets you chat away without a download

Starting today, Skype users in the U.S. and U.K. can start making calls directly from their browsers.

The Skype for Web beta makes the chat program available without having to download and install the program’s dedicated app.

“Skype for Web is perfect if you normally use Skype on your mobile, but want to quickly get to your calls and IMs on a bigger screen,” says a post on Skype’s blog. “Or perhaps you’re sitting at a Windows or Mac computer in an internet café or hotel that doesn’t already have Skype downloaded.”

We’ve checked out the beta, which you can access via Skype’s official site by going there and clicking on “Launch Skype for Web” under the download button. It was pretty slick, once I remembered my password (thanks a lot, auto sign-in). It seems a bit sparse at first, but instead of having a list of everything over to the side, it just shows your last few conversations and a “New” option. Clicking that pulls up all of your contacts and lets you start a new dialogue or make a call.

You can also click on your name above to set your availability, and it abandons the app’s granular options in favor of a single switch that you can toggle between “Available” and “Not Available.” It has none of that “Away” or “Do Not Disturb” stuff; you either want to talk, or you don’t. And I appreciate the simplicity there.

Skype for Web is looking pretty promising. I don’t miss the availability options, and it does everything I need it to do right from the browser. It might even replace the app entirely and save me a whole lot of Command-Tabs.

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