You can get Skype on your Chromebook. Hooray.
But it’ll take a little bit of work.
(Not to burst your bubble.)
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. We’ll get it set up step-by-step in this guide. It’s very easy actually.
These little machines can now use the service via 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.
However, if you want to use it on your Chromebook, this is one way (and the easiest way) to do it.
Let’s roll, shall we?
Last updated: 1/25/20. I’m keeping this guide up to date so you get the most accurate information.
How to install Skype on a Chromebook
Getting Skype on your Chromebook doesn’t require an installation anymore.
The old way of installing it would require that you install Crouton on your laptop, which would require you to enable Developer Mode and erase all your personal data.
But you probably don’t want to deal with that, so we’ll stick to the easiest and fastest way possible.
So, what’s the easiest way?
Using their web-based version.
(Keep reading below for instructions on setting up a video chat on your Chromebook.)
That’s it. No installing. No downloading. No waiting. Seriously.
You’ll be greeted with a familiar, minimalistic layout of your contacts, messages, chats, and other options. You’ll also see an option to voice chat or video chat next to each of your contacts (this is a new feature).
Click this and boom, you’ll be in a conference call with your friend just like you’re used to. It works pretty much just like the native version on Windows.
Chrome will prompt you with a permissions warning for microphone access and webcam access. You’ll need to enable each one if you plan to use that feature (obviously). This stuff is self-explanatory. It’s pretty secure in itself so you shouldn’t be too worried about granting permissions.
But if you’re paranoid, just enable the bare basics of what you want to do. If you’re just going to voice chat, then only enable the microphone.
After you set your permissions, you’ll be connected right away. No more steps. That’s it. Literally.
As for video calls, they don’t seem to work on the Chrome Browser yet. Sending chat messages and audio calls both work just fine though.
Remember, it’s currently in development for this web-based version.
Update: Video calling should be working now on Chrome OS. This feature is now available on all platforms. Look for a video call button next to your contact.
How to video call with Skype on a Chromebook
For many, video calling would be nice to have so you can chat with the webcam built into your laptop.
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.
One way to do it is to use the Android version via ARC Welder.
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 to get this working. There’s no stable version.
Support will also be limited. You’ll mainly be searching Google for any guides on setting it up.
Besides that, there are few other ways of getting it to work.
You can video call on Skype with your Chromebook using any of these methods:
The first is to wait. The app will have video calls available for Chromebooks when it’s developed.
- You can use a Skype alternative
- You can install the Android app version 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.
- You can use the Android version if you’re able to snag it on your Chromebook (if you have the Play Store available)
- You can simply click the video call button using the Skype app from the Chrome Web Store (thank you, developers)
Update: Video calling is now available. 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 during calls.
If you’re seeing pixelation or video distortion, it’s your connection speed and quality.
If you’re in public, find a better WiFi connection. If you’re at home, consider upgrading your Internet package or switching providers for better call quality.
That’s the best way to get better calls using Skype on Chromebook. Improving your connection will improve your call quality. And that’s a guarantee.
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 the standalone program 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. It’s got everything you need, minus the stuff you rarely need.
You can install the app from the Chrome Web Store.
This is basically just an app that integrates it with your Chromebook and launches it directly within your browser. It’s the same experience, but you don’t have to navigate to their website. It saves a few steps.
If you use it frequently, I’d recommend getting the app.
You can chat, call, and video just like the regular version you’re used to.
And if you’re really in a hurry, you can use the online version that requires no account. It’s like a demo version. You literally just choose a username and you’re logged into a room with a special link. You give the link to your partner, and they’ll be able to join you. Note that you won’t be able to access a lot of features in the demo version.
Microsoft will continue to improve the web-based version.
It’s the easiest way to use Skype on your Chromebook (or you’re just looking for a Google Hangouts alternative). The web version is your best bet. Go for it and try it out.
It’s sleek, fast, and just works. It’s amazing how a lot of developers have pushed their entire product to be runnable straight from a web browser. You’ll be surprised by the possibilities of it.
Skype alternatives for Chromebooks
If it really doesn’t work for you, the next free solution is Google Hangouts.
All you need is a Google Account and you can video chat, talk, type, and call anyone else who has an account. It’s very similar to Skype and you don’t need to download any software to use it.
Just log into your Google Account and go to Hangouts.
If you and the person you want to video chat to are both Chromebook users, then you both already have a Google Account. This means you’re already have what you need to start chatting together.
Try it out for yourself
If you have an account, use the web-based version. If you have contacts already, use this.
If you don’t have an account, or you’re just lazy to log in, use the demo version. Just click “start a conversation” and you’ll instantly be placed in a room with the ability to add others by giving them the special generated URL.
Or if you plan to it frequently, get the app for the Chrome Browser.
You have three different ways of getting it on your Chromebook. Pick and choose whichever one works best for you.
Did it work for you?
Well, that’s about it.
Setting up Skype and hopping into a video chat on your Chromebook should be fairly straightforward. Microsoft has made it simple with having an online browser-based version so that Chromebooks (and other operating systems) can all take advantage of it.
If you can’t get working, leave a comment and I’ll help you out ASAP.
Or if you’ve found this guide to be helpful, please let me know as well =].
Thanks for reading.