Not to burst your bubble. You can use Skype on your Chromebook, but only partially. Kinda.
But don’t worry, you can still do (most) of what you already do on Skype right on your Chromebook, so don’t fret just yet. We’ve got this.
These little machines can now use the service via Microsoft’s Skype for Web. It’s not an official feature or web app, as it’s still in development. So that’s probably why you’ve never heard of it. It’s not officially announced yet and has only been accessible to them recently.
However, if you want to use it on your laptop, this is one way to do it. Let’s roll.
It’s not the only way, but it’s the easiest way without having to install Crouton on your laptop, which would require you to enable developer mode and erase your data. But you probably don’t want to deal with that, so we’ll stick to the easiest and fastest way possible.
Sounds good? Good.
Last updated: 5/9/17. I’m keeping this guide up to date so you get the best information on the web.
How to install Skype on Chromebook
To get it running on your Chromebook, simply head on over to their website, sign into your user account, or create one if you don’t have one, and you’ll get logged in via the web app. You’ll see a voice call button next to your contacts.
Click this and boom, you’ll be in a call with your contact just like you’re running native version on your desktop.
Chrome will prompt you with a permissions warning for the microphone with it. You’ll need it so you can voice chat. You’ll also be prompted to grant permissions to allow it access your webcam for video calling. This stuff is self-explanatory.
Agree to and grant all permissions and you’ll be connected right away. No more steps.
As for video calls, they don’t seem to work on Chrome. Text-messaging and audio calls are the most functional features for Skype on Chrome OS.
Update: Video calling should be working now on Chrome OS. The feature is now available on all platforms.
How to video call with Skype on Chromebook
For many, video calling would be nice to have so you can chat with the webcam. After all, video chatting over the VoIP service on your laptop using the built-in webcam would offer an experience that’s to be expected as it seems so basic, and users are already used to it from Windows devices.
You could also install the Android app version to get video calling on Chromebook via Skype. However, you’ll find that Android support which is currently in beta and is also limited to a few models will require a level of knowledge to install. Not all models can run Play Store apps yet. And you’ll need to use developer builds, which are required.
Support will also be limited. You’ll mainly be searching Google for any guides.
You can achieve video calls using Skype on your Chromebook doing one of two methods:
The first is to wait. The app will have video calls available for Chromebooks when it’s developed.
- You can install the Skype for Android app via Google’s ARC Welder app. This will basically utilize Google’s previous Android-on-Chrome tech platform and works on any Chrome OS device on the market. It doesn’t work as well as the Android app support app, but ARC Welder doesn’t require installing developer builds of Chrome OS, so it’s simpler and easier to get going.
Update: Video calling should now be available for all platforms. Simply click the video call button to get started. You can see their official FAQ for more information.
There’s no reason to use the ARC Welder anymore. Why complicate yourself when you can just click a single button to start a video call? Keep it simple.
How to improve the call quality
If you happen to have choppy call quality with a lot of background noise or static, you can do the following things to improve it. These should help make your calls much more clear and crisp.
- Try getting a better WiFi connection. Be as close to the router as possible for best reception.
- If you have background noise, try to mute it.
- Talk clearly and speak closer to the microphone on your laptop.
- Try dropping the call and recalling.
- Try calling during non-peak hours.
- Try speaking louder and slower.
These tips should help out your call quality somewhat and improve it. The main thing is your connection. Improve that and everything else will get better. The program runs over the Internet and requires data packets to be sent received to work. A faster connection means faster transfer and less data loss. That’s the best way.
The program runs over the Internet and requires data packets to be sent received to work. A faster connection means faster transfer and less data loss. That’s the best way to get better calls using Skype on Chromebook. Improving your connection will improve your call quality. Guaranteed.
The same goes for video calling and getting a clear picture. You need to have a fast connection for the best performance and quality.
You can do video calls, chat, voice chat, and (mostly) everything else
Skype for Web is like a slimmed-down version of the real program. It doesn’t have nearly all the features that regular standalone Skype has, so you won’t be able to do everything you’re used to.
However, most people use it for either audio or video calls, or at least based on my experience. Therefore, the app has you covered.
You can chat, call, and video just like the regular version you’re used to. The online version can even be used without an account. You can make a room and send a link to your friends to join you.
For everything else, you can use other apps on the Chrome web store, such as Dropbox for file transfers, or a chat app for chatting with full support. Or whatever else you do on it. There’s another app that can cover it.
Microsoft will continue to improve the app and the service will be officially announced. For now, if you must use Skype on your Chromebook, or you’re just looking for a Google Hangouts alternative, then the web version is your best bet. Go for it.
It’s sleek, fast, and works well. You’ll be surprised.
Try it out
You can check it out here and see what it can do for you. This link requires no account. Just click “start a conversation” and you’ll instantly be placed into a room with the ability to add others by giving them the URL.
If you have an account and you want to sign in with it so you have all your contacts- you can use this link instead.