Microsoft hopes to reboot Skype as a competitor to popular social messaging services.
(CCM) — Microsoft has given its Skype messaging service a complete overhaul to help it compete with the likes of Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. Rather than having an emphasis on voice and video calling, Microsoft is putting the concept of "sharing" front and center. A completely revamped user interface reflects this. "With the new Skype, you’ll have countless ways to share life’s moments together, every day. Wherever life takes you, Skype allows you to seamlessly create, play, share, and do more with the people you care about most," the company said in a blog post.
The biggest new feature is "Highlights," which is Microsoft's version of Stories. Like many other social networking apps, an upward swipe brings up a camera so that the user can take a photo or video. These can then be decorated with Skype's new stickers or overwritten with text. Photos and videos can be shared with individual friends, in group chats, or they can be posted to "Highlights." These are available for a week to anyone who follows a user's Highlights, and followers can react with various emoji or comments.
Microsoft has also made it easy to use bots and add-ins in the new Skype. In the near future it will be possible to use Skype to chat with Cortana, Microsoft's intelligent assistant, or Scoop, another assistant which pulls in news from MSN.com.
The company has begun rolling out the new Skype worldwide, coming first to Android devices, followed by iOS handsets. Versions for Windows and Mac will be released over the next few months.
Image: © Microsoft.