Skype soft-launched a video messaging service on Friday that allows its subscribers to deliver recorded clips to Skype contacts for playback when they come online.
The service is initially available for users running Skype on Android, Apple's iPhone and Mac OS X computers and is part of the Skype Premium package that costs $10 per month. Nonsubscribers are being offered 20 free messages over the next three months to try the service.
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Each message can be up to three minutes long and the feature is available through the "plus" button in Skype apps running on supported systems.
"We're looking for feedback," said Chaim Haas, a spokesman for Skype. He said users can connect with Skype through Twitter and its Facebook page.
Skype inadvertently disclosed the feature in December when it updated its terms of service to include a description of the video messaging service.
The full service will launch later this year.
Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org