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Microsoft joins the instant video messaging game with Skype Qik

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Skype Qik
Skype Qik

It might be a little late to the party, but Microsoft has finally turned up with its own instant messaging app, Skype Qik.

If the Qik name rings any bells, that's because it used to be a stand-alone mobile video streaming app that was acquired by Skype. Then, of course, Microsoft acquired Skype, and the Qik name and service was put out to pasture.

Now, however, Microsoft has resurrected the Qik name to represent a new mobile video app - but this one's more in line with Snapchat, Slingshot, and their ilk.

The idea, according to a recent Skype blog post, was to "build a new app to run alongside Skype and provide an ongoing form of video chat," one that fills the sizeable gaps in between Skype calls.

Taking and sharing a video with a friend, or even a group of friends, is as easy as tapping a big pink button to start recording, and a second time to stop and send.

Like Snapchat and its many imitators, these video messages won't hang around forever. In Skype Qik's case, they last for two weeks before self-deleting. You can also opt to erase any video you've contributed to a chat, whether it's been viewed or not.

You can also block contacts on Android and Windows Phone, but not yet on iPhone.

That's right - this being a Microsoft-affiliated product, Skype Qik is available on Windows Phone. That's something that should give it a boost with owners of the third-biggest smartphone platform, who continue to be deprived of Snapchat.

Another neat feature here is the Qik Flik system. These are brief pre-recorded messages that can act as stock responses when you don't have the time or circumstances to record a reply. The example used in the accompanying video is a simple thumbs up (with appropriately gurning facial expression). Interestingly, this particular feature is available on Android and iPhone, but not yet Windows Phone.

All of which makes the Android build the ultimate version at launch, we suppose.

Skype Qik is available as a free download on the App Store, Google Play Store, and Windows Phone Store.

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