Skype is an extremely popular way for people around the globe to connect to each other through messaging, audio calls, and video calls. But up until now, the service has always required a standalone application on your Mac. Back in March, Microsoft opened a beta of a web-based Skype service to a small number of users; now that beta has been opened to anyone in the US and UK.
To use Skype for Web Beta, users must either have a Skype account or sign up for one. The only software on your favorite Mac will be your browser (Safari, Chrome or Firefox are all supported) and a small browser plug-in. Pointing your browser to http://web.skype.com walks users through the setup process, after which they're ready to call friends and family around the world.
The experience of using Skype for Web Beta is surprisingly similar to that for the full-on Mac application, and I found it to work quite well for both video and audio calls with a few surprised call recipients this morning (I don't use Skype that much...). Of course, you can still use the Mac app or load up Skype for iPhone or iPad.