Set up a Quick Meeting With Skype “Meet Now”, No Sign-in Required

My new Dungeons & Dragons playgroup has been gathering for almost the past few weeks, but we still can’t decide which service offers the best quality and user experience and which is easiest for all of us to access. We jumped between zooms, Facebook, FaceTimes and even a couple of parties, but we haven’t decided yet, but a new Skype feature could make it easier to make a decision.

I’ve always hated Skype because it infiltrates your Windows taskbar and never disappears. However, Microsoft’s recently released fun feature makes it incredibly easy for people to join a video conference, and as an added bonus, they might not even need to install Skype to do so. It’s called Meet Now and I like it.

How to set up Meeting Now in Skype as a host

First, someone will have to install Skype on a desktop or laptop – either in a standalone application or in the web version . Look for the “Meet Now” link that’s hard to miss:

Click the Meet Now button and Skype will automatically generate a unique meeting room link that you can copy and share with others. Remember that anyone who has this link will be able to join your meeting. This differs from having a “private room” in the service, since the link is only valid for the time of the one-to-one meeting. Ending this conversation and starting another Meet Now meeting generates another share link.

After starting the meeting, the Skype interface should look familiar. You can click attendees to mute them or remove them from the meeting if needed. Open the advanced menu options by clicking the icon in the lower right corner and you can mute all incoming video or put the call on hold completely. Screen sharing via Skype is as easy as clicking on the large button in the bottom right corner, and you can even chat with call participants in a text box if needed. (Click the hamburger icon in the upper left corner, right-click the Meet Now, and select Manage Group to customize your chat options, including chat history.)

How to join Skype Meeting Now as a participant

Basically, all a person needs to do to join a Meet Now organizer call is copy and paste the unique meeting link into your browser. If you are on a desktop computer, you may be asked to sign in to your account, or to start Skype if you have already used your Microsoft account elsewhere (for example, on Windows). Alternatively, you can simply open an incognito or private browser window, paste the link, and sign in to Skype via the web service as a guest – no installation required.

If you are using a smartphone or tablet, you will need the Skype app. I couldn’t find a clever way to just log in as a guest using the web interface on my iPad without it:

Aside from this minor annoyance, “Meet Now” is still a useful way to let people join your video chats without having to register (or log into) a Skype account. And Skype’s free video chat limits are pretty generous :

“Group video calls are subject to a fair use limit of 100 hours per month, with no more than 10 hours per day and a 4-hour limit for an individual video call. Once these limits are met, the video is muted and the call is converted to an audio call. If the participant in the video group call is not using a version of the Internet communications software that supports group video calls, the call will be an audio call for that participant only. The number of allowed participants in a group video call varies from 3 to a maximum of 50, depending on the device and associated system requirements. “

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