Written by Staff Writer
15 Oct, 2014 | 2:39 pm
Microsoft’s venerable Skype service on Tuesday launched Skype Qik — a new companion app aimed at the video-messaging and selfie crowd.
Qik lets you send short video messages to friends, family and other contacts in your address book. After downloading the app (for Android, iPhone and Windows Phone) you just register your phone number and you’re on your way. You can message one-to-one or in groups.
The app is Skype’s response to the dramatic consumer shift to all things mobile and to the onslaught of instant messaging platforms and tools, from What’s App to Snapchat and Yo and beyond.
Skype exec Dan Chastney says that more than half of new Skype customers are using the service on mobile devices. “At certain points in the day there are more people connected on mobile than on desktop,” he says.
With Qik, Microsoft wants to bridge the gap between what might be your regular weekly Skype session with a long-distance family member by letting you get in touch even if neither of you is available for a real-time conversation.
There’s just one control button to record a message: Tap once to begin and a second time to stop and send. If you aren’t happy with the clip you can delete it. You can switch back and forth between the front-facing camera on your phone and the rear camera.
You can send a message to anyone whose cellphone number you have. If they don’t have the app they’ll get an SMS to create an account. Messages are kept for two weeks and then automatically deleted.
Chastney said the design team wanted Qik to feel familiar to Skype users but still be distinct. It uses the same bubble-shaped logo as Skype but in a perky, pinkish berry color. Designed “with mobile in mind” it is very lightweight and won’t be a drain on your phone’s battery, he says.
The company is also being careful about positioning this as a communications tool, and not one aimed at social sharing.
Any message that you send you can delete from your device and from everyone in a message group.
Messages only live within that conversation, Chastney said. You can’t save them, you can’t forward them or post them to Facebook.
“We want to help users feel like they are in control of their content,” he says.
Source: USA Today
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