Microsoft Gives Skype A Makeover, Draws Inspiration From Snapchat

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So far, only Facebook has been known for copying Snapchat’s features, but now, you can add Skype to that list too.  Microsoft is giving it a big makeover, and Android users will be the first to notice it.

What’s new with Skype?

On Thursday, the chat service announced a major overhaul of its mobile app, including the Highlights feature, which will allow users to take photos and videos that are visible for only a short time. A Highlight created by a user can be commented on by family or friends using emoticons and messages as well. This feature, according to Reuters, is similar to Snapchat’s Stories feature. Such features are pretty popular among users, and recently, Facebook added a similar feature to its apps.

Skype’s messaging interface now also include a new section called Capture, which also feels like a Snapchat feature, according to The Verge. The panel immediately launches into the camera to allow you take a video or pictures.

Apart from Highlights, the service has also updated group messaging to make group chats “more lively” and personalized. Now users get attractive, colorful backgrounds, along with emoji support. Users can also add a chat with content from third-party services, for instance, animated images from Giphy, notes Reuters.

Microsoft is also adding several bots to the service, such as Scoop, which can bring news of interest to an individual. Skype is also getting a new Find panel to make search easier in the app. The Find panel will be integrated with bots such as StubHub, BigOven and Expedia so that users do not have to leave the app to book a trip, buy tickets to concerts, or make a restaurant reservation while chatting with friends.

Skype also improved its core video calling service. Now users will be able to share photos, stickers and emoji during calls. Going forward, Microsoft’s service aims to allow users to play games and watch videos together during the video calls.

“We want people to experience things together,” said Amritansh Raghav, corporate vice president for Skype.

What is Microsoft aiming at?

This makeover can be seen as the most extensive update since Microsoft acquired Skype in 2011 for $8.5 billion. Over the years, the company has added features like free group video calling and Skype for Web, but when it comes to competing with the likes FaceTime, Messenger and WhatsApp, Microsoft has struggled with the design and features.

With Skype Qik, Microsoft made an attempt to make a mark in mobile video messaging, but it failed. Since then, the company has been updating its mobile app to improve messaging, but the results have not been satisfactory. Skype is still mostly used for making audio and video calls, but now with “the next generation of Skype,” Microsoft hopes to expand the use of its communication service.

Skype’s new version will first be rolled out to  Android devices, but it is still a few weeks away, notes AndroidAuthority. After that, Microsoft will update the iOS app, followed by the Windows and Mac versions.

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