Microsoft launches Skype Qik to rival Snapchat

Microsoft's Skype has launched a quick-fire video messaging app called Qik, in a late bid to tap into the booming culture of "disappearing" mobile messages.

Skype Qik: video messaging app for the selfie generation
Skype Qik: video messaging app for the selfie generation

Skype Qik is a standalone app that lets users shoot quick bursts of video and send them to friends. Beyond this, there are few features, but Microsoft is evidently hoping Qik's relative simplicity will boost uptake among the selfie generation.

Skype confirmed to Marketing that brands are not able to advertise on Qik. Rival Snapchat has just announced it will enable ads in the near future, and Instagram recently signed up its first UK advertisers.

Qik users can record videos with either the rear or front cameras on their phones, then send them to an individual or group thread. They can also pre-record up to 12 messages with Qik Flicks, meaning they can fire off quick responses when there is no time to record a new video.

Videos are only stored within Qik rather than on the phone, and will "disappear" after two weeks – although Skype notes in a disclaimer that, "It may be possible for recipients to capture and save videos elsewhere before they are deleted from Qik."

In an apparent nod to Douglas Adam's cult Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books, videos can be a maximum of 42 seconds long.

The name Qik might ring a bell, since Skype bought a video service of the same name in 2011. The service was eventually shut down.

The app is free and available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone, although not all features are available on each operating system. Users can sign up using their mobile number, and use their existing address book to find friends.

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