Skype relaunches video service Qik as “Skype Qik”

Skype acquired the upstart video streaming service Qik in January 2011, reportedly for $100 million, where it survived for three years before being retired in April 2014. Now, the service, or at least the name, has been reborn as Skype Qik, according to a posting on the Skype Big Blog. There may not be much left of the original app except the name, the blog suggests:

A small team of Skype designers and developers recently took up the challenge to build a new app to run alongside Skype and provide an ongoing form of video chat. They knew they had to create something mobile and lightweight, as spontaneous as messaging but as intimate as calling. And it had to be fun and easy to use. What they created was Skype Qik, and we’re so excited to share it with you today.

Skype Qik is a new video messaging app that gives you a totally effortless way to capture the moment, share laughs, and chat with groups of friends. We know you love your weekly Skype calls with family or friends; Qik keeps you connected in between. Dinner with friends? Bored at work? Having a great day in the park? Go on, share it right from your phone. You’d be surprised how quickly a short video can turn into a great conversation.

Skype Qik is available for Windows Phone, for Android, and for iOS, and unlike other Skype/Microsoft offerings, works via your phone number and doesn’t require a Skype or Microsoft account, according to a post on the release on Venture Beat. Skype Qik allows you to send Qik video messages, up to 42 seconds long, or pre-recorded snippets of up to 5 seconds long (not yet available on Windows Phone). They can be sent to individuals, or to groups previously created in Skype Qik. You can also delete messages you create at any time (whether it has been viewed or not), and they’ll be deleted not only on your phone but anywhere you sent it, too. After that, Skype Qik messages disappear after two weeks, although the Skype Qik website notes that “It may be possible for recipients to capture and save videos elsewhere before they are deleted from Qik”.

At the time of its initial release, Qik was quite the thing, rapidly reaching some 5 million users at a time when there were far fewer smartphones in use, and it caught the attention of investors, receiving two quick rounds of funding and placing notable investors Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz on a Board of Advisors. Since then, a number of competing services, most notably Vine (which just showed up on Xbox One, by the way), have popped up, and Qik may have lost some of its viral appeal. Will you use Qik? Do you use other services, like Vine?