October 15, 2014

Ten-plus years after Skype was first made available for download, the ubiquitous app is gaining a sibling—Qik, Microsoft’s first foray into video messaging. Available now for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, the free, stand-alone app allows users to send short video messages, up to 40 seconds in length, to anyone in your phone book with the tap of a button. Cheeky name aside, it’s a great solution for travelers—the videos are shared almost instantly, cutting out traditionally long relay times, and don’t use up precious phone storage space.

If the rise of social media tells us anything about how travelers like to communicate, we know that speed and efficiency is key. That’s why Dan Chastney, the Principal Program Manager Lead at Skype, is calling Qik the Skype of the Mobile Era. During a one-on-one demonstration with members of his team, a key point came up again and again: this app is simple enough for anyone to use, not just video-happy millenials.

How it all works: simply log in to the app and your phone’s contacts will automatically sync in. Record clips within the app (they can’t be pulled from your camera roll), and send them straight to a single contact or group, whether they have the app installed or not. The most recent videos will surface to the top of your feed—and if any one group gets too noisy, you can leave the conversation. Messages are ephemeral and can’t be saved, lasting just two weeks before disappearing from the app entirely—making it a perfect medium for silly travel videos and casual observations from around the globe.

Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein

 

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