Skype enables group chats in Office online

Microsoft enables the Skype group chats feature for the users of the company's browser-based Office Online Word and PowerPoint services. The Skype group chats feature allows professionals to work together on documents.

Recently, Skype Senior Product Marketing Manager Karen Tong announced in a blog post. "Skype for Office Online makes collaborating a breeze. The chat experience is available right next to the document, enabling you to chat in and edit in real-time with other authors," she wrote.

The feature is available now on Office Online Word and PowerPoint, the Web-based versions of the software giant's productivity software offerings.

Last year, the company released an Office Web App (Word and Excel) co-authoring feature that delivers edits and user presence information without refreshing the browser window.


The new Skype integration is meant to help users get more work done in Word and PowerPoint and less time checking their inboxes. "Speed up and simplify document editing with quick Skype group chats instead of long e-mail threads," stated Tong in the blog. "Keep track of which co-authors are online as well as messages you might have missed."

Longtime Skype account owners are being encouraged to add their profiles to their Microsoft accounts.  "To get the best experience possible on Skype for Office Online, have your Skype account linked to your Microsoft account," said Tong.

Acquired by Microsoft in 2011 for more than $8 billion, Skype is evolving into a major enterprise app after winning over millions of consumers with its voice over IP (VoIP), video calling and text chat capabilities.

However in November, Skype stopped the calling facility from its application on mobile and landline phones within India. "As of November 10, 2014, Skype will end support for calling within India meaning calls to mobiles and landlines from Skype within India will no longer be available," Skype's parent company Microsoft said in a statement.

Using a feature of Skype, a user can make video or voice calls using Internet service for which he/she will only be charged for Internet consumed for the service. Microsoft said, "Users in India can still make free Skype-to-Skype calls worldwide, international calls to mobiles and landlines and users outside the country can call mobiles and landlines in India." It added that Skype WiFi and SMSs are also available to users in India.

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