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After Microsoft replaced Hotmail six months ago with its new webmail service, Outlook.com, the tech giant is now integrating Skype into its product portfolio by delivering it to users’ inboxes.
Microsoft’s rolling out browser-integrated Skype calling to allow its webmail users to make audio and video calls using Outlook.com.
“Some moments are just right for Skype. Now it’s in your Outlook.com inbox.”
Assuming you’ve set up an account with Skype and with Microsoft’s email service, the next step is installing a browser plugin that connects Skype and Outlook.com. Skype says the plugin will be available for most versions of Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox.
That’s when you’ll have more options for how you want to reach out to friends. Engadget points out Microsoft’s competitors have already connected video calling to a messaging service.
“Gmail’s added easy access to hangouts and even Facebook has integrated Skype-connected video into its messaging so we suppose it’s necessary for feature parity, with the added bonus of Skype’s large install base.”
The update doesn’t actually come as much of a surprise. Microsoft acquired Skype for $8.5 billion back in October 2011.
Additionally, The Verge reports Microsoft promised Skype video calling from the web when it unveiled Outlook.com webmail in July, but “While Outlook.com has seen a number of updates over the months, including a calendar UI refresh, Skype integration has been missing in action.”
Gizmodo says the software is actually a preview. “…depending on feedback, it’ll be redesigned and improved. Microsoft doesn’t use the word beta but… uh, that’s what it means.”
Microsoft says it will start the roll out in the U.K. today, in the U.S. and Germany in the coming weeks, and the rest of the world will have a peek by the summer.
Due to recently hacks and false tweets, one of which was supposedly from the White House and sent the stock market into a momentary free fall, Twitter hopes to strengthen its user security. It has plans to prevent such intrusions through the introduction of a two-factor authentication process (via Wired). When this would be introduced and available to users is unknown.
This trend of having an extra layer of security then the traditional model of simply username and password seems to reflect an technical trend among the technical giants. Google rolled out its two-factor authentication offering in 2011, but Microsoft only just introduced their own last week.
When Twitter verifies an account, it’s saying that it’s gone through some type of procedure to approve that the person or entity is who they say they are. Keeping that integrity safe is essential to the entire concept.
The challenge for Twitter’s to solve is a two-factor authentication for accounts might be used by multiple parties in multiple locations. In Google’s two-step process, as well as Facebook’s, you’re sent a text message with a code to enter when logging into your account from an un-authenticated device like a mobile phone.
How something like that will work for an account managed by multiple people is a head-scratcher.
Until two-factor authentication rolls out, it’s smart to be vigilant when it comes to clicking on unknown links, and it’s always a good idea to change your password from time to time. A word of advice, is don’t make your password something like “APm@rketing.” That could get hacked at any time, no matter who you are, but especially if you’re the Associated Press.
[Photo credit: Flickr]