Skype has begun rolling out a new beta feature on its iOS, Android, and Mac clients that allows users to send recorded video messages to others, regardless if they are online or not. Videos can be up to three minutes long and will show up in the chat area of Skype, and though Windows and Windows Phone users were left out of this testing phase, they’ll still receive video messages with a link to watch them on a browser.
The addition of video messaging brings Skype up to speed with smaller rivals like Tango which have been offering the same for a while. The feature allows for asynchronous video calling, as even if someone isn’t available for a video chat, you can still leave a video message. For now it’s limited to US and UK Skype users, with a wider rollout expected soon, and you only get 20 free video messages before having to pay up -- presumably to justify cloud storage costs. Skype hasn’t detailed how much the new feature will cost.
In related news, Microsoft today shared more details on its timeline for migrating users from Messenger to Skype. The company says they plan to discontinue Messenger for a "test group" comprising about one percent of the installed base on March 15. Starting April 8, Microsoft will begin phasing out Messenger for the remaining users, starting with those in English-speaking countries. The entire process should be completed by April 30.
Those using Messenger through a third party instant messaging client like Trillian or Pidgin can continue doing so for a while longer. Third party APIs will eventually be shut down and each company using them has its own timetable for the shut down. Microsoft says it’s up to them to announce the cut off date to their users.