Skype's New Group Video Messaging App Takes a Late Cue from Snapchat

By Kate Knibbs on at

Skype Qik is a solid video-messaging app that'd be a guaranteed hit if Skype could go back in time and release it a few years ago.

Skype Qik lets you take videos of 42 seconds in length and send them to friends off your contact list, creating an impromptu video message relay that disappears after two weeks.

There are a lot of good things about Skype Qik:

  • It's simple. You download, it sucks up your contacts, and you're ready to start recording.
  • If you send a message to someone without the app (which will happen a lot if you start using it now) it will send them an SMS with instructions about how to download, so getting friends to sign up is pretty painless.
  • As I said, simplicity is key. You can't have a chat or just send audio, so there's really only one option and it's video.
  • Skype Qik doesn't run in the background, so your battery doesn't get killed.
  • File sizes are small and you only get a push notification after a new message is pre-loaded.
  • You can add additional contacts to conversations, and if you send a video you really hate, you can delete it from the conversation after the fact.
  • You can also make a five-second "Qik Flik" message to send people whenever you want and it's basically a GIF of your face or whatever you want.

All good things. Firm pat on the back for Skype! Firm pat on the back for Microsoft.

Skype Qik is ready to go on most of the major smartphones. You can download Skype Qik on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. Unlike the original Skype app, which started as a desktop program, Qik is mobile-only.

Skype's New Group Video Messaging App Takes a Late Cue from Snapchat

Now for the bad thing(s). Skype Qik has a name that makes me want to punch myself in the face every time I type it. When are we as an app-developing society going to stop naming apps as mis-spelled versions of common words? Not soon enough, obviously, because Skype Qik is here. But the name is not the big issue.

The big issue is that this nifty app is appearing on the scene too late to feel new.

Skype Qik is named as such because Skype bought a rival video conferencing service called Qik in 2011. If Skype had spun Qik into Skype Qik shortly after it made the purchase, I wouldn't be writing this article about Skype Qik because everyone would already be using it. It would have been ahead of its time

But that's not what happened. Instead, Skype sat on the service for years as other real-time video messaging options cropped up.

Skype Qik may struggle to win converts despite its advantages because people have already figured out different ways to do video message threads, whether it's on apps like Snapchat or on group iMessages or even Instagram Direct. Despite all the specific advantages of Skype Qik, it's not introducing a solution that doesn't exist plenty of other places.

Even if Skype Qik itself doesn't take off, I can see some of these features getting adopted by Snapchat and other messaging services. Skype wasn't quick on the draw with Skype Qik, but it drew well. [Venture Beat]