Skype Qik lets you swap short video messages with your friends

Skype may be one of the better-known options for video messaging, but it doesn't hold a candle to a services like Snapchat if you just want simple, back-and-forth discussions. The Skype team isn't taking this competition lying down, though -- it just rolled out Skype Qik, its own take on rapid-fire video delivery. The mobile-only app is focused solely on swapping short clips (up to 42 seconds; yes, it's a nod to Hitchhiker's Guide) as part of conversations with your phone contacts. In theory, it's just what you need to coordinate a night out or catch up with pals who are rarely available at the same time. All messages vanish after two weeks to help protect your privacy, and you can pre-record "Qik Fliks" to use when you're either too busy or just want to reply with your favorite internet meme.

The new service is available on Android, iOS and Windows Phone today, and it's free to use. The feature lists are largely the same, although it will take a few months before you can capture Qik Fliks on Windows devices. Just don't expect to see desktop versions any time soon; you need a phone number to sign up, so you won't be joining in from your Surface. The company also tells Engadget that there aren't any current plans to fold Skype Qik's features into existing apps, so you'll need to carry two apps on your device if you want to place old-school video calls. Still, it's good to see Skype stepping outside of its comfort zone -- it risked being left by the wayside as a new wave of messaging apps took over.