Skip to main content

Microsoft's GroupMe gets Skype 'group call' feature on Android, Windows 10 (Updated)

Groupme Skype Android Feature
Groupme Skype Android Feature (Image credit: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • GroupMe on Android and Windows 10 now connects to Skype.
  • Groups can now create group calls to Skype without a Skype account.
  • Microsoft is trying to compete against Zoom.

Update: Microsoft has pushed out an update to GroupMe on Windows 10 (v 2.41.1.0), which adds the same Skype icon and the ability to schedule calls.

Microsoft has effectively ignored its GroupMe chat and messaging client ever since it took over Skype years ago. Despite some essential app updates over the years and Microsoft seemingly having other priorities, the chat service remains popular amongst college kids, especially in the U.S.

Some of that may be changing. Microsoft is rolling out an update to the GroupMe client on Android that lets you easily create a Skype group call. While it's not quite a native integration of Skype VOIP, it sure is better than nothing, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Groupme Win10 Skype

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The feature is simple enough. At the top of the chat is the Skype logo. Clicking it asks if you would like to create a Skype group call with those in the room. Once you accept, it generates a link and posts it to the chat. By clicking the link, GroupMe hands off to Skype where the group call is created, and everyone can join in with just a single tap.

The feature is built off Skype's Meet Now.

Skype rolled out its "Meet Now" (opens in new tab) back in December 2019 although this week it went on a media offensive against rival Zoom in actually promoting the function for once.

Groupme Skype Android Feature

Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central)

Zoom has seen tremendous momentum as families and friends try to keep in touch virtually during many "shelter in place" restrictions around the planet due to the coronavirus pandemic. GroupMe merely is piggybacking on that Skype Meet Now ability by making it a one-click task to get a group call going.

How to easily set up a voice call or video meeting on Skype

With Skype Meet Now, users do not need a Microsoft or Skype account to join the call. For years, that has been a barrier to entry that a service like Zoom does not need.

It remains to be seen if Microsoft will push out this feature to its Windows 10 and iOS GroupMe clients, but it is probably likely.

The bigger question is, will Microsoft give GroupMe the attention it deserves, or just let it wither.

Thanks, Jason H., for the tip!

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

23 Comments
  • Why Microsoft drops everything with low usage but GroupMe is still around? It can't be that popular. They redesigned and repositioned Skype dozens of times already but GroupMe is not only untouched but had good mobile apps, including on Windows Phone! Maybe the main Skype team simply forgot GroupMe exists and let them do whatever they want?
  • It's still widely used. Just go on Twitter and search "GroupMe" and you'll see how many young/college kids are still using it for class work. It's weird.
  • As a college student, (though at 23 slightly older than most) I honestly don't understand why so many college students use it for group-projects. Skype, Telegram, Teams (which our school provides for us as part of office), texting, they're all better. But for some reason groupme is the default. Very strange. I just hate the notifications don't dismiss on my computer if I get rid of them on my phone (and vice versa), same with messenger.
  • I use it because it can text people as well as has a mobile and desktop app. People dont need a smart phone to use it. And believe it or not, some people dont have one for one reason or another. =)
  • If they truly want to compete with ZOOM, they need to consolidate their efforts to compete. They need to focus on one app and make it great, instead of multiple apps. Maybe, they should have been focusing on Group Me and adding Teams features to it, or should have created a consumer version of Teams a while ago. I get it, their focus is on businesses and enterprise, not necessarily consumers. But, you can't haphazardly decide to address consumers and expect to do well. Their software target should always have been both, when it comes to productivity apps. Why did ZOOM need to become popular to see that this type of communication was needed?
  • "Why did ZOOM need to become popular to see that this type of communication was needed?"
    Zoom is 100% a corporate/enterprise tool that, now under scrutiny, is falling apart around security issues. It became popular because (1) pandemic timing (2) Share link to create call w/o account (3) serendipity It's hard to explain fad apps in a rational way, but that's what Zoom is. I'm not quite sure it's better than other competing products, it's just the one that caught the zeitgeist.
  • While it may have been intended for enterprise, you don't need to be an enterprise to use it. There were a lot of people using ZOOM, long before the pandemic. Although, it was more of a rhetorical question. Regardless of what made it popular and it's issues, Microsoft should have focused on the products they have and make them better. I feel a consumer version of Teams would be better and not necessary to have apps like GroupMe or Skype. Just focus on one improve and streamline the hell out of it.
  • Microsoft is not competing with Zoom, zoom is competing with Microsoft here. Despite the coverage Zoom is not touching a fraction of the traffic MS products do on a daily basis.
  • I like GroupMe but I don't use it anymore. It's a simple chat app but it doesn't do very much. The best aspect of it is it feels very lightweight on any system. However, the downfall for me is it's terrible for trying to find an old message. I wish Teams felt as light as GroupMe. Electron apps always seem to consume too many resources.
    But Teams is so much better than GroupMe at pretty much everything.
  • Just playing devil's advocate here, but what do you actually need a communication app to do?
  • It just seems to me that Microsoft can't figure out what it wants people to use for communication. This is just ridiculous. And, frankly, I still don't understand why there are SO many different messaging systems out there. It's just ridiculous to me that I have to install 14 different apps to connect with ever single person who doesn't use regular texting.
  • bingo. And that's where GroupMe comes in. It supports SMS!
  • Nice to see the feature was added to the Windows 10 Mobile app as well.
  • Well, that's kind of surprising. Suppose someone on the Skype team still uses a Windows Phone?
  • It was probably a happy accident of common code.
  • Seems like it could be useful. Trouble is getting some one else interested. Takes 2 to Tango (usually).
  • Exactly. I can see that most of my contacts have it (or at least are recognized) but none of them use it.
  • Just like the DoD is really using Teams, they use GroupMe a lot too. On networks that don't allow Skype or Facebook, GroupMe is a viable alternative that allows you to only include those who you want to communicate with. It's fast and convenient.
  • If this is meant to compete with Zoom, where's the video part of this? Or have I missed something at groupme.com. Ahh I do see the Skype button on the apps but not on the web page. Maybe coming there "real soon now".
  • Tested this with a chum who uses
    Apple gear, while I used my Surface Go. Although he just used Skype's Meet Now function, it worked very well. Clear as a bell video and audio. Onward and upward.
  • If no Microsoft/Skype account is needed won't this be subject to Skype bombing just like Zoom? Is there something built into Skype that would prevent this?
  • Something else "telling". Less than 20 comments with 4 from me. Humm
  • Tried using the video chat via GroupMe, heck article says "The feature is simple enough". Trouble is it didn't work. Sent an email to GroupMe support. Awaiting their reply. Auto reply said they were busy than usual. Whatever....