Microsoft Releases a Group Video Chat Companion App for Skype

Microsoft Releases a Group Video Chat Companion App for Skype

So... what the heck is this thing?

Microsoft today released a new mobile companion app for Skype called Qik that provides group video messaging functionality. The theory here is that Qik treats video chats like regular messaging, not so much as standalone conversations but rather as ongoing dialogs that can be picked up again over time. But in keeping with modern snap apps, Qik video messages also automatically self-destruct after two weeks.

Qik addresses two modern trends in mobile messaging, both of appear to be aimed directly at Millennials. First, it separates this messaging functionality into a discrete app, much as Facebook did with Facebook Chat. And second, that self-destruct functionality provides the privacy and non-permanence that the younger set seems to crave when they communicate with each other.

These are theories, of course, since I am an actual adult. So bear with me as I wrap my age-addled brain around what's happening here.

Here's how Microsoft explains it.

"Skype Qik is a new video messaging app that gives you a totally effortless way to capture the moment, share laughs, and chat with groups of friends," Microsoft's Dan Chastney and Piero Sierra explain in a new post to the Skype Big Blog. "We know you love your weekly Skype calls with family or friends; Qik keeps you connected in between. Dinner with friends? Bored at work? Having a great day in the park? Go on, share it right from your phone. You'd be surprised how quickly a short video can turn into a great conversation."

And here are the pertinent details.

It's a separate app. You can get Skype Qik for Windows Phone, iPhone and Android handsets.

The videos you create automatically expire. Each video lasts exactly 2 weeks, Microsoft says. No more, no less.

You can erase your own videos at any time. That said, if you inadvertently send a video, or have second thoughts, you can erase it at any time.

Block contacts. You can block contacts, but only on Android and Windows Phone right now.

Qik Fliks. This special kind of mini-video—like a 5 second animated GIF—can be sent when you're pressed for time. You can record and store your own Qik Fliks so you're ready to respond to anything, Microsoft says. But not on Windows Phone, not yet. It's available on Android and iPhone only right now.

Still not convinced? You're probably all grown up. But if you're still curious, here's a little video that explains it better than I ever will.

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