Snapchat’s popularity, especially among the younger demographic, is fueling a trend towards the ephemeral. Microsoft’s Skype is the latest to capitalize on this, introducing Skype Qik for Android, iOS and Windows Phone. The app, which launched today, lets users send video messages to groups or individuals that are set to disappear after two weeks. Users can also manually delete videos before the two weeks are up, which would delete the video from recipients’ phones too.
According to a blog post announcing the news, the goal of the standalone app is to keep people connected in between Skype sessions. The videos can be up to 42 seconds long.
One particularly cool feature of Skype Qik is what the company is calling “Qik Fliks.” A Qik Flik is essentially a pre-recorded GIF up to five seconds long. Users can store Qik Fliks to easily reply to video messages without recording a new video.
Users don’t need a Skype account to use Skype Qik. Like WhatsApp, all it needs is a phone number. The app is in part Skype’s response to the shift to mobile. Dan Chastney, principal program manager lead at Skype, told TechCrunch that more than half of its new users each month come from mobile devices.
“We felt we needed a new experience… something that was lightweight,” he said. “But something that would have the intimacy and the richness of video communications which is really what our heritage is, and what Skype is best known for.”