Forget Zoom: Skype unveils free 'Meet Now' video calls

Skype Meet Now
(Image credit: Skype)

There's no question that Zoom has quickly become the leader in video meetings and video calls during the coronavirus pandemic. It offers free, 40-minute conference calls with up to 100 attendees, and lots of people are using this tool to stay in touch and have fun with features like swapping out Zoom backgrounds.

But there's also serious questions about Zoom's security and privacy issues, only some of which the company has addressed thus far. In order to capitalize on Zoom's troubles, Skype has rolled out Skype Meet Now calls that don't require a sign-up or installation.

Here's how it works. Meet Now allows you to host conference calls by generating a free unique link with one click. You then share that link with participants to enjoy unlimited meetings via Skype. According to Microsoft, which owns Skype, your meeting link does not expire and can be used at any time.

Skype says that you'll be able to leverage its features during your video conferences. This includes the ability to record your call and save it for later. The company stores your recording for 30 days. You can also blur your background before entering the call, which is helpful for those of us are don't have the neatest home office or who have pets or children jumping in and out of the frame.

With Skype Meet Now, you can also share your screen at any time, which makes it easier to collaborate with colleagues and share presentations with a group.

Meet Now works on any device with the Skype app installed, and you don't even need a Skype account to join these calls. You can also use the Skype web client for making calls. 

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.

  • JStevans
    There's a typo in the article. The text says "It offers free, 4-minute conference calls with up to 100 attendees ..." when the correct duration for free calls is 40 minutes.
  • Mark Spoonauer
    Thanks, this is fixed.
  • willgill
    Microsoft is missing a huge opportunity to kill their competition. They simply need to increase the number of live video streams in Teams (and Skype) to match or beat Zoom. Their consumer version of Teams launches April 21st with Microsoft 365, but I don't think it will have more than 5 live streams. Once Microsoft solves the number of live streams issue, make a free version of Skype or Teams with limited time and/or features to compete with Zoom.
    Until Microsoft does this, Zoom will still be preferred personal virtual meeting software despite the ridiculous security issues.
  • Brophyd
    I wish it truly didn't require a download. If you're on any mobile device it requires you to download the Skype app. Wish it just worked in the mobile browser.