Skype just got a massive design makeover, and the upgrade looks a lot like what other app giants like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat already offer. Microsoft’s corporate VP for Skype calls it the app’s biggest update since 2006.
Lately, the mobile application was lagging behind more hip and friendly rivals like Messenger and Snapchat. But with this recent upgrade, Skype hopes to level the playing field and be an equal contender.
Snapchat was the first platform to launch Stories; a feature that allowed users to post their very own photo or video feed for friends and family to view. Other social media followed suit with their own version of Stories. And now, Skype’s new update has its own version of the popular feature, which they call it Highlights.
Highlights lets you record your week in a series of photos or videos which can be viewed by your personal network. Similar to Stories, you can also decorate your feed with handwritten text and Skype’s own set of stickers. Here are some key points:
- Highlights can be viewed for a week: Snapchat Stories disappear from a user’s feed after 24 hours. But with Highlights, you have access to images and video feeds for seven days.
- Camera is a swipe away: Initiating a video call in Skype’s older version meant clicking on the camera icon on the top right of the screen. With the update, the camera can be accessed by swiping right from the main screen, a gesture that is familiar to social app users.
- Follower interactions: Users can react to Highlights with emojis much like users do so with Reactions on Facebook in posts on their newsfeeds.
Here are some features that mimic social apps in the new upgrade:
- Sharing options: In addition to the staple video call, you can now share videos and even your current location in chats.
- Bots and add-ins: Microsoft envisions how you will be able to chat directly with Cortana with their new update. Now you can book tickets to events or simply ask for a news on your chat directly.
- Playing games and co-watching in groups: Some social channels are trying to gain traction in Co-watching like YouTube and Tumblr’s Cabana, the latter of which allows groups of users to watch videos and chat together in real time. The new version of Skype plans to follow suit by upgrading video chats to support interactions like playing games and watching streaming services in groups.
This re-design however doesn’t bring something really new to a messaging app. Chatbots? Messenger. Video feeds? Snapchat. Business chat? Messenger again. But what this update does is that it simply brings Skype to parity with other apps. The updates have been released on Android and a release for iOS is expected in a month’s time.