Earlier this week, Skype announced that their video messaging feature has finally finished testing and will be released as a part of applications for Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android and BlackBerry. This feature allows users to record a message for a contact to view at a later time; it sort of acts like a video voicemail that can be played and replayed to your heart’s content. As Skype users update their applications, the feature will become available to them.

There is some argument that asynchronous video (that is, video that can be recorded by one person and viewed by another at a later date) is actually an old form of communication, but Skype has been slow to integrate it. It is believed that some of the more recent startups (like Glide and Twitter Vine) and other competitor apps (like Viber) have provided the motivation for the new feature, as Skype feared being left behind the times.

The great news is that recording a video message is incredibly easy and only the contact that you have chosen to receive the message will be able to view it. To record, all you need to do is tap the “video message” button, then tap the record button to capture your message. You are able to record a message of up to three minutes and you are able to preview the video before sending; you can even delete and re-record until you are happy with it.

What many people may not have realised is that Skype’s video messaging feature has actually been available as a beta since February, except that there was a cap on the number of messages in place. There was free, unlimited use of the feature given to those with premium Skype subscriptions. Now it has officially gone live they have decided to make it free for all users instead of locking it behind a pay wall as they have with other features, like screen sharing.

Whether you want to record a goodnight message for your children because you know that you’ll be unavailable at bedtime, or you want to be the first person to say happy birthday to a loved one, or you’ve come across something amazing when you’re out and about that you just cannot wait to share, Skype’s new video messaging feature is the perfect way to do this. Only time will tell whether users are just as happy with this feature as they are with others.