skype-160px

Skype for Chromebook

Skype is hugely popular, and it’s probably one of the first things you’re looking to install on your Chromebook. It’s not quite that easy, because Skype have not produced and official client for Chromebook yet, and there’s no direct replacement. That said, we can get you some of the way there.

Use your phone / tablet instead

If you’re using a smartphone / tablet with a front facing camera, you can run Skype for Android / iOS while adding credit and managing your account online with your Chromebook.

Hangout

Hangout is the Google preferred solution – it works great on Chromebook, giving you full audio and video as well as the ability to video chat with multiple people at once for free (you have to pay to do this on Skype.) The downside – you can’t import your Skype contacts, and everyone needs to be using Hangout rather than Skype. (Since there’s no client to download and install, that’s not as big a fuss as it might seem – you can call anyone with a Gmail or Google email address easily.) It does mean moving over to a different system, and not being online to your Skype friends, so they can’t call you unless they’re also on Hangout.

Google Hangout

Google Hangout

Plus.im

Plus.im is an online messenger client, run by the same folk who made IM+, a popular IM app. It works great for passing Skype messages back and forth, but won’t work for video calls.

Skype for Outlook.com

Skype has been released for Outlook.com – however, it requires a non-standard web plugin. Hopefully, Skype will produce either this plugin or a standard Skype client for Chrome OS.

Skype on the web

Skype on the web

IMO

IMO is a web based messaging app. It lets you connect to a bunch of messaging services, including Skype, via the web instead of using a dedicated client. You’ll get the same list of contacts you see in Skype – but you can’t make audio or video calls, just text chat.

Skype IMO on Chromebook

Skype IMO on Chromebook

There are options inside IMO for Audio / Video with a Skype user, which gets you all excited:

Skype IMO video on Chromebook

Skype IMO video on Chromebook

… until you realise the horrifying truth. What it does is IM the user a link to make the call via the web, just like Hangout, except a lot more flaky.

Skype IMO receiving from Chromebook

Skype IMO receiving from Chromebook

Skype IMO video on Chromebook crashing

Skype IMO video on Chromebook crashing

Google Voice

Google Voice is only available in the US, but if you can get access, it’s a great replacement for Skype To Go and SkypeOut. It’s includes some neat features like transcribing your voicemail to text, and saving all your voicemails and texts so you can search through them. You can set up a new number in Voice and use it to set up call forwarding, so anyone calling that number will forward onto your mobile, your landline or all the phones in the house. If you use Android or iPhone, you can use the Google Voice app so people see your Google Voice number when you call.

Google Voice

Google Voice

If you’re a SkypeOut user, i.e. you pay for Skype credit and use it to call regular landlines and mobile phones, Google Voice does that too. You can plug most USB headsets into your Chromebook, and the calling rates are given here. Here’s a quick comparison with Skype:

Country Skype Google Voice
US & Canada 2.3¢ Free from US and Canada, 1¢ elsewhere
UK 2.3¢
Mexico City 2.3¢
China 2.3¢
India 9.2¢
Philippines 19.8¢ 11¢

All prices in cents per minute for landlines, excluding tax.

If I didn’t list yours, you can check the full list for Skype and Google Voice.

One nifty trick, tweeted here by an ex-Googler – you can set your SkypeOut caller ID as your Google Voice number, which means that even if you are using Skype to call out to a regular phone, the call recipient would call you back on your Google Voice number. Shiny!

Vidtel

If money is no object, you can use Vidtel to bridge between multiple video calling services. Let’s say you have two participants, one on Skype and one on Hangout. Instead of calling each other, they both call Vidtel, and can talk with each other as normal. However, it’s an expensive service, starting at $0.15 per minute or $149 per month. More pricing details here.

62 thoughts on “Skype for Chromebook”

  1. Hi,
    just bought a Chromebook and am already disappointed since I can’t use Skype on it. Not that I expected to be able to use it as a normal laptop, that is to work on files, etc.
    I really only wanted to use it as a machine for my WEB needs.
    Yet, just had to find out that this is only possible in a very limited way, i.e. I feel completely locked in to only using Google services – how arrogant to set it up like this by Google.
    Why are these things advertised in a way that gives you the impression that it is a fully functional interface to the WWW ?
    Very annoying – I feel inclined to use Google services less in the future since I love to have choices and a certain bit of freedom.
    …And I’ll almost certainly take my Chromebook back to the store where I bought it.

    1. Sorry to hear you’re disappointed with it. Skype isn’t actually a web app – it’s a windows / mac / android / iOS app, but doesn’t run on the web. You can certainly use your Chromebook to access anything that is web based and not Google, e.g. Facebook, WordPress, Vimeo, eMusic, Deezer, Wikipedia … the list is as long as the internet :) Your Chromebook absolutely is a great interface to the WWW.

      Still, I know that doesn’t help with your Skype problem. There’s no perfect solution yet – this page lists the best options available to you.

    2. Whilst I see your disappointment, the fact that you can’t use Skype isn’t really Google’s fault. Skype is owned by Microsoft, and since not very many people own Chromebooks right now, It doesn’t make sense from a business perspective to make a client that works with Chromebooks.

      1. “and since not very many people own Chromebooks right now, It doesn’t make sense from a business perspective to make a client that works with Chromebooks.”

        Well, if Microsoft used open web standards, their products would not only work on Chromebooks, but also on all Linux, Macs, PCs, tablets, phones and any other devices that can run a browser. Thanks to Microsoft and their greed, Chromebooks users and Linux users aren’t getting Skype.

        Google, on the other end, uses open web standard and hangouts works in any browsers, that means that it works for everyone without discrimination of device choice.

        1. I know there is a Skype for Linux, by I’m talking about Skype on the web. I can’t wait to have outlook.com’s Skype integration so I can get rid of that bloated software running on my computer.

  2. I’m testing one of these devices for a school system. While I can see it being somewhat useful in such a setting the lack of using these devices outside the Google ecosystem is very limiting. I just can’t see purchasing one for personal use as a *real* laptop which allows for far more flexibility is only a few $$ more, albeit a low end model. Still, the low end laptop doesn’t feel any more cheap than the Chromebook I’m currently using. I’d hoped to use Skype on this to connect to my son but I’ll *not* use a Google service, nor will he. I’ll continue to test for my employer but the inability to install a *good* browser (I do not like chrome at all) and the massive lock in to Google services makes these devices a fail in my book. It’ll also make it easier for me to recommend my outside clients do not purchase these devices unless they understand the *full* implications and limitations of their use.

    1. Thanks for the note. You’re right, there are definitely some implications for buying a Chromebook – it doesn’t run Windows / Mac software, and that’s an issue for folk who are used to that. I would say though, that cheap windows netbooks don’t work for a lot of people too, because they’re often slow, and the added cost of Office and your antivirus can add up. Chromebooks are built for speed and there’s no need to buy Google Docs (it’s free) or any antivirus (it’s not needed). You also don’t need to worry about lock-in to Google – Chromebooks certainly aren’t restricted to only using Google services, they’re designed for the web – that means Facebook, Reddit, CNN, BBC, Amazon, and so on.

      1. I’m 11 and loved to skype with my friends on my old laptop which broke. Unfortunately this isn’t possible on chrome, then when i had no choice to use hangouts which cannot be used on regular laptops/computers this was really disappointing. -T

      2. If people do their own research before buying a product, they wouldn’t be disappointed this bad. I just bought myself a Samsung Chromebook and am loving it. Cloud services is the future for everything that we do and Google is just a step ahead than anyone else when they came up with this cloud based OS. But for those who really want an actual OS so that they can do some local work while offline, they can do so by installing Linux (Ubuntu) alongside with the Chrome OS as a dual boot. And that’s what I did. Expand your horizons and take full advantage of this super fast machine. BTW, there is a video on YouTube showing you how to “install Ubuntu on Samsung Chromebook”.

        1. I got the new hp chromebook and i love it, but then again i did research (unlike most people it seems). I also don’t use it as my main computer I have a desktop for that, I bought this just for school and work so i can keep track of client information without needing to buy a full laptop.

  3. Im considering buying a chromebook and i was wondering if it could meet the requirements needed to be able to play minecraft? And if it can handle it, how well could it handle it? Thanks

    1. I’d like to add it is possible to play Minecraft on a Chromebook – however, you must install a separate operating system on it. Try searching for more info on “Chrubuntu”, if you’re interested. :) I play Minecraft on Chrubuntu, and the specs are at least decent (on the most recent Acer C7 Chromebook) – normally between 14-16 fps. More RAM can be added to increase frame rate though. :3

  4. I’m still confused how if Chrome is supposedly Linux based, then why can’t there be a Skype Chrome app? I understand that Google wants to push only their products on the customer, but, if the customer is demanding (and it seems they are!) that there be a Skype app to make them feel more complete using the chromebook, then why not provide it. I have numorous contacts in Europe and they don’t use Google talk, voice, or hangout. Oh, and we’re adults, so we don’t use facebook either (I don’t even have a facebook acct-I don’t wanr it, don’t need it!) We use universally, Skype; this now puts us at a disadvantage with using a chromebook when we business travel; so when on the road, I now take my android tablet instead of a chromebook.

    1. Fair question Dan. Chrome OS does run on the Linux kernel, but I think a lot more parts of a standard Linux distro need to be present before Skype can run. You can use Chrubuntu, but that’s not a super simple solution.

  5. how can i install games, other softwares in chromebook? i am really disappointed to use this google chrome. we can only use this chrome for internet browsing? cant we use other softwares like in windows OS?

    1. Most of them, yes, but there are a bunch of apps and games that are specifically designed to work offline (they’re marked out with a little lightning symbol in the Chrome Web Store.)

  6. I’m deeply disappointed that I can not use skype with Chromebook. I bought my Chromebook last Sunday but I will return tomorrow.

    1. Yeah, that’s fair enough. If you haven’t tried Hangout though, I’d definitely give it a go first – you can email chat invites to people, and getting free multi-way video calling is a bonus.

    2. You can use a liveusb version of any linux distro from a usb key or SD card with skype on it when you need it. It works fine.

      If you install a very lightweight distro (from Pendrivelinux.com) it will load quickly and you will hardly notice the problem

  7. Can we do video chat in chrome book? I heard we have a plugin issue in chrome browser…is it rectified? Please respond asap

  8. Hey admin guys, just wondering if there’s any update/date on when skype will be usable on these chromebooks?

    I am in the same position as many other chromebook fans and users in that I didn’t check whether skype was usable, and consequently am unable to get in touch with any of my skype contacts.

    Any info would be great! Thanks, JB

    1. The online version of Skype has recently been released in a limited fashion in the UK, but I don’t know yet whether it works on Chromebooks or not. I’ll update this article as soon as I know one way or the other.

  9. Hi,

    I’m considering buying a Chromebook but as a writer I’m concerned that I would only be able to write stuff when I have access to an email connection. You mentioned earlier that there are apps available in the Chrome Web Store that are available offline and are marked with a lightening symbol; I can’t seem to find a notebook-style app which works offline… Does such a thing exist?

    Cheers,
    CGN

  10. I bought the light chrome book for three reasons, internet access, the light weight because I travel, and for the built in web cam for SKYPE. And since I can not use SKYPE I will be returning the chrome book tomorrow.

  11. Admin, I appreciate you offering using Hangout as an alternative to Skype. However I cannot be using it by myself in isolation, can I !? That is to say ALL my Skype contacts have Windows machines and they cannot just convert to Hangout tomorrow, even if they wanted to. Unfortunately, Google screwed this one bad! They do not provide you with an alternative for compatibility either way ( Windows running Hangout or Chrome running Skype) That is ridiculous and preposterous!!!
    I’ll be returning the 2(two) Chromebooks tomorrow !!!!

    1. Hiya – just so you’re aware, Windows / Mac / iOS / Android devices can use Hangouts just great, so you can video chat with people on pretty much any platform.

  12. Well, that is good to know!
    Still, I have 50 contacts on my Skype account, probably 20-25 of which I chat with at least 2-3 times per week. I can’t expect everybody to switch and to do away with Skype just because of my Chromebook’s shortcomings!

    1. The fun thing about Hangouts is that noone needs to switch and download another client. You can just add them to a call in Hangout, and if they’re not already online, they get an email which they just click to join the call. I do hear your point though – if you’re used to Skype, fair enough. I tend to just use it on my phone if it’s needed.

  13. I just got a Chromebook. It’s great for web browsing, even Youtube. I’m a bit disapointed I can’t install Skype. I have 4 other laptops and they all run Skype. Other than that, I’m pretty happy with the Chromebook. I just wish I could install more native apps.

  14. When is Skype going to be available for Chromebook? I am just waiting for it to be available and I’d buy 5 for my wife, myself and kids.

  15. I bought my Chromebook after a few weeks of research and thinking it over, I played with them at Best Buy. My Mac Mini was, well, I left it on my cable box, and one weekend I accidentally left it on, and it overheated and died. So I needed a good, cheap computer in the meantime for basic web browsing (YouTube, checking my Gmail, Social Networking sites, keeping up on the news etc… as an iPod Touch or Android phone with 3.5″ screens are only so tolerable for those things for so long) until I had spare money to replace my Mac. (luckily I had all my important files backed up on a 1TB external HDD). As far as portal to the World Wide Web, its nearly perfect. The only complaints I have are that Google needs to add a symbol to the Chrome Web Store, such as the G meaning the app is from Google or the lighting bolt meaning it can be used natively offline, to let you know that it requires a plug-in or software that is currently not available for Chrome OS – so that I don’t waste time installing something only to find out I can’t actually use it. Some kind publishers will let you know right near the top of the description that it will only run on Windows or OS X, which is a nice gesture. I can’t feel sorry for someone who bought one without fully checking into the limitations of the OS first, though I can sympathize. Chrome OS has only gotten better, Google has been slowly improving the functionality of Chrome OS little by little. (I love the new layout for Google Music!) I knew that Chromebooks were NOT Skype compatible when I bought one, though most of my friends have either iPod Touches or iPads, so if a video call is a must, we do have FaceTime as an option. The fact that the “Offline Apps” category has only gotten longer and longer and the popularity of Chromebooks (especially for people who want a simple OS that does what they need it to do – play Angry Birds (which is offline compatible on Chrome OS), watch YouTube clips and check their Facebook account.) keeps me hopeful that quite soon Skype will (like any company) realize the ridiculousness of blocking out a whole user group that could possibly be already loyal customers they may lose or potential new customers that would love to try Skype out, but are locked out because of the way Chrome OS works and the laziness of the developers to create an HTML5 based online (or localized) version. Can you imagine iPhones being as popular as they are if Apple never allowed them to be synced with non-OS X computers? (this coming from an Apple user)

    I know Skype for Chrome OS is just one of those “matter of time” things. I would give it some time, I know it will come eventually. Almost more so then Skype, I would really enjoy a developer making a FREE HD webcam video capture device. It could come in handy for my videos, as no matter what I do, recording to YouTube from the built in 720P WebCam always results in 360p video, which is (pardon my language), quite bullshit. The Chrome Web App Store is no help either, as all the apps that make use of the built in webcam and mic are either for taking pics, making animated .GIF files or your basic ‘speech-to-text’ apps. Overall, I am quite happy with my Chromebook (the Acer c7 with 2GB RAM). It does what I needed it to do for the meantime, it has its limitations, sure, but for the price, the speed, the quite simple and beautiful Windows 7/OS X inspired GUI – it is worth it. I can’t wait to see personally what Google has in store next. I’ve heard many rumours of an Android/Chrome OS merger. Which, seeing as how I have an Android phone would be quite amazing. It is a lower end model, so all the games I could not play (if the cross-over happens, and happens like I would hope it would) I could try them out on my Chromebook and decide if I would like it for on the go and perhaps that would motivate me to buy a better phone.

    Phew, sorry for the long winded post. Nerd here, just wanting to add to the conversation.

    1. Thanks for the in-depth comment! Likewise, I have my fingers crossed that we’ll get Skype on Chromebooks. I’ve started using Hangouts myself instead, but I totally get that a lot of people don’t want to switch. Hope you continue to enjoy the C7!

  16. I was just wondering,
    is there any chance of downloading torrents to a chromebook?
    If yes then can I instantly transfer them to an external hard drive for viewing later?
    nevertheless,
    If no then can I still download videos from any website and transfer them to an external hard drive?

    Is google docs a good alternative to Microsoft Office, especially for students? Will it do the same exact things? (I heard that it does not have citations).
    Im really interested in buying this thing.
    Thanks

    1. You can check out some torrent client options here. You can absolutely transfer any files, torrented or not, over to an external hard drive.

      Google Docs is great for most people who are used to MS Office. Check out this article if you need citations (I haven’t tried it myself).

  17. Hi – I have a MacBook Air and I have Skype. My friend just moved to Maine and we want to video chat, but he says he cannot get Skype on his new notebook.
    Just the google version, hangout. Is this compatible with my MacBook? I tried it and it was installing something and just got “hung-up”. Maybe I can’t run this on my computer??
    Thanks, Donna

  18. Hi i know your getting this alot but iv recently brought a new c7 chromebook which i like its light looks good and yes very quick on the internet does everything i want it too apart from SKYPE i have only been able to convince 2 yes 2 of my 40+ friends on skype 1 is my girlfriend so we can actually see each other ( as were both in the army we move around alot) and the other my sister so i mean come on admin team just push it forward to whoever you have to, to get us skype people are comfortable with skype and dont want to change ( why try fixing something that isnt broken right) i dont want to hand my chromebook back in to the shop i do like it but skype will just be one of those things that makes it complete for us.

    thank you..

  19. I just opened an account on outlook.com, and since i live in UK i immediately tried the new skype in outlook..
    as expected, i was prompted to install a plugin (windows only) to make skype working.
    So no options to have skype within outlook on chromebook.. well, we kind of knew that.
    Happy chromebook

  20. I admit that Skype not working is kind of a bummer, I myself used it a lot but it is not directly Google’s fault I mean this OS was clearly not designed to install standard programs but rather to be used through chrome for browsing etc… with that the way that Skype will work for the Chromebook is obviously a HTML5 browser version which is COMPLETELY on Microsoft. So I’m not entirely sure why everyone is cursing Google, where do they say that every program will run on Chromebook? The answer is no where because it’s advertised as a fast and easy to use (SIMPLE) OS meant specifically for web based apps and web pages; my point is that as it has already been stated research what you buy before you buy it! I purchased it knowing what it was meant to do and I honestly have almost no complaints, I mean there are a few hick-ups but isn’t that somewhat expected with a new OS? As for Google hangouts I believe in my OPINION that it is better that Skype, but as the millions have stated very few people use it and that’s the problem, all I can say is for everyone to give it a chance although that wont be possible in many obvious and understandable situations which is again why you should always research what you buy before you actually do purchase it. Anyway, back to the main point of getting Skype on the Chromebook… I’m in no way a dev so this is pure curiosity with the hope that it could spark an idea to someone who is- Would it be possible for someone to create an app in the webstore that fully interfaces with Skype to allow Video / Audio? If not than does anyone know why it wouldn’t?

    1. I don’t believe that Skype has an open API for people to be able to create new clients, certainly for video. I would love to be proved wrong though :)

      1. Yea, I figured that much. Just thought I’d throw it out there just in case. Also, I’d like to apologize to you or the rant in my previous post. This site was the last of many websites I had gone to in order to try and find a solution to they Skype issue among a few others in which I kept reading about so many of the people complaining about how much the Chromebook sucks and how frustrated they were with it and I just had a moment, because really if a good amount of them actually checked on what they were buying first then they’d know that it wasn’t for them, but in stead they blamed the Chromebook for not running Windows programs for example; just to name one. Anyway, as I said earlier I am sorry for my rant as it didn’t really belong here.

  21. I’m considering a Chromebook and have used G+ hangouts with my students in the past, but our primary mode of communication has been Skype. I’d like to transition everyone over to using G+ hangouts and Google Voice, because Skype is really annoying a lot of the time. Can you tell me: Is it possible to move my current paid Skype number (I purchased a subscription and have a Skype phone number so I can make free calls anywhere in the U.S. and get calls into Skype without callers having a Skype account) over to Google Voice? Or will I need to enable a new Google Voice number associated with my Google account and notify everyone of phone number change? I’m trying to make it as painless as possible for everyone involved. Apologies if this is not the right forum to ask this question.

    1. This is an excellent question, which I’m afraid I can’t answer fully. Sounds like you have a SkypeIn number, which is awesome. I believe you can port numbers *to* Google Voice, but it looks like you can’t port out your number from Skype. However, it looks like you can set up call forwarding from your Skype number to your Google Voice number.

      So, not straightforward. Another solution might be just to use Skype from your phone, and use Hangouts on your Chromebook. Apologies, none of these options are perfect!

      1. I’m about to purchase a notebook for two purposes – Skype to my Granddaughter in China and email.
        A Chromebook would be at the top of my list were it not for the Skype issue.
        Is it correct that Google+ Hangout is not available in China so does not give me an alternate video chat to Skype?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>