Skype Qik - Skype's first standalone app - is taking on not just the world of mobile video messaging/chat, but also the likes of ephemeral messaging apps, such as Snapchat.
From videos to GIFs
The story began back in 2011 when Skype acquired an online video streaming app called Qik (pronounced 'quick'). While this app disappeared into the ether, it has now been resurrected three years after Microsoft bought Skype, but this time as a video messaging app.
It aims to fill a gap left by the main Skype app - which allows you to record a video voicemail when you can't reach someone or they are not online - by allowing you to record video messages for people to respond to when they can, a kind of video version of WhatsApp etc.
When Skype Qik starts up, it asks you to add your phone number and then confirm this by entering a code it sends by text message. And then you're ready to start recording videos without any more complicated sign up processes.
Skype Qik has one main feature: to record video and send it to your friends. To do this either pull down on the homescreen or tap on the big red logo when you are in a chat and then tap on the red logo to stop recording.
Each video has a time limit of 42 seconds and you can send videos to one person or set up a group of friends. It's worth mentioning that, as there is no Skype integration, you can only send messages to contacts in your phone book that have the app, not you Skype contacts. If your contact doesn't have Skype Qik already installed, it sends them a link via SMS to install the app so they can view the video and start chatting.
The videos in Skype Qik are arranged just like chats in a messaging app and when you click on the chat, it pulls up all the videos you have shared with that friend or group.
When you delete a video that you’ve created from your phone it will be deleted from all the recipients’ phones. Videos are also deleted automatically every two weeks, anyway. While there isn't currently any functionality in Skype Qik that allows you to save videos, this something that third-party apps could exploit so how effective this delete feature is remains to be seen. Best not to send anything you don't want other people to see then.
It really is quick
Recording a video is really easy with one tap to start and one to stop. Sending the videos is then just a case of selecting the relevant contact(s) from your phone book. Alternatively, you can record a video from within a chat and this will send to the recipients automatically.
The videos record and send very quickly and you can also easily switch between front and back cameras while recording.
Here today, gone tomorrow?
Video messaging isn't a new concept and there are already apps on the market that offer this feature or something similar, such as Glide, so it's difficult to see what makes Skype Qik stand out. While it's easy to use, quick to send and receive videos, and enables group chat, do users really want a separate app just for sending video messages?
With a big name like Skype behind it and video quickly becoming one of the key messaging mediums for sharing, it has more chance of success. But Skype Quik could equally just as easily be another flash-in-the-pan app that will disappear as its user base wanes.