Microsoft is working on improved, faster, reliable and modern-looking Skype

Microsoft Skype

Microsoft today revealed that Skype is under active development and you can expect several major improvements in the coming months. With the recent launch of Microsoft Teams for consumers, most people thought Microsoft will retire Skype. Today, Microsoft revealed the future plans for Skype. Microsoft’s goal is to build an improved, faster, reliable, and super modern-looking Skype. You can find the long list of new features coming to Skype below.

The New and Coolest Call Stage in the World

?Image showing light theme for calling, people with video on and people without video in call stage.

We’re upgrading and modernizing the most important part of Skype, the call stage! This is what we’re known for and we’re about to do some pretty cool magic with it, adding new layouts, beautiful theming, and other ways to help everyone connect more closely on the call. We think with this call stage you’ll get to experience the best video calling in the world. Be sure to give it a try and let us know what you think!

Let there be light!!

We believe we’ve designed the most beautiful call stage in the world. The balance we set with this change is truly a work of art. Now the stage will feel like it’s right at home within Skype no matter what theme you’re rocking.

?Image showing light theme for calling, people with video on and people without video in call stage.
So, what else have we changed? We wanted to make sure the app still felt familiar while we modernized the look and feel and made the experience more inclusive.

The first person we included was you —now you can find yourself on the main view during a call. We also adjusted the way the video feeds are rendered into a more natural grid, and no one will be left alone on the upper tray again because we bring you all together. Now all participants— even if they aren’t sharing video — will be visible on the calling stage. Before, if someone shared their screen or turned on Together Mode, the video previews in the top bar were too small to be engaging. But now we show larger video feeds in the top bar so you don’t have to compromise anything.

Image showing a dark theme for calling and people on the call with video and without

While we love the design changes, we knew they weren’t enough. We needed to focus on performance to make the experience delightful. We improved performance in key scenarios by 30% on desktop, and over 2,000% on Android, and have more coming as we continue to modernize our media stack.

Image showing light theme with View selected and showing different option of the calls like grid view, large gallery or Together mode

We care about your data and your connection quality, and we know people use Skype in lots of different connectivity environments, so we still give you an option to disable the video stream and hide audio-only participants from the calling stage.

But have you noticed something else in the call stage? Did you see the colorful backgrounds behind the avatars of the audio-only participants? Now we’re bringing audio-only participants fully into the game with their own backgrounds on the call stage. No more grey, dull calling experience. And what’s even cooler, these are the same pictures we use for background replacement in video calls, so we keep you looking familiar whether sharing video or not. If you want to change your background, just switch it up during your call.

?Image showing mobile experience with chat and call

And not to forget some of the really cool innovations we already have like animated backgrounds, together mode, call recordings, live subtitles, and much more.

Animated background with Skype using Marvel Shang ChiTogether Mode in a bar scene with Skype

? But that’s not it, we’re modernizing the rest of the app as well

We know modern messaging and calling isn’t all about giving you a hundred features that you will never use. It’s about thinking of how we can give our users the most delightful experience every time they use the app.

So we have been researching, scratching our heads, and meeting together (with a lot of coffee) to design these modern and fun improvements. And we couldn’t be happier to share with you what a huge change it has brought to Skype. We’re sure you’ll notice all the small details, but we’ll let these designs speak for themselves, they are that powerful:

Upgraded chat headers with changed layout, added group avatar, and have you seen those button gradients??

Image of Skype header, showing image added, changed layout and gradient button

 The beauty of the left side panel screams art, balance and lightness 

?Image of Skype side bar after the changes on modern design.

Oh, did someone say fluent icons? Yes, we do love them as well
?

Showcase of fluent icons from Microsoft

Have we mentioned themes? Everyone loves customisation

Another amazing change we have been cooking up is refreshing our themes with new vibrant colors and the beautiful gradients that come with them.

?Image with all Skype themes

Say hello to color!

We just couldn’t resist and upgraded your profiles and non-customized chats with gradients. Look how colorful, fun, and bright your app will get! Truly delightful. Now it will be much easier to tell your chats apart, and it will also be a joy to look at these avatars!?
Different color gradients of chats

All complementing already great existing features!

This all complements some of the fun features we had brought you earlier this year, like the ability to customize your meetings with a name and any emoji. Which is a feature we codenamed internally “fancy titles”.

?Gif showing different titles you can create in Skype

Meet Now, right now!

?Image showing the lobby of meet now featureAnd when you don’t want to bother with annoying requirements like downloading an app, remembering a password, signing up for a new account or keeping your call under 45 minutes, all you need to do is have a quick call on Meet Now.

Meet Now is a powerful tool to create and join Skype calls without the need to log in, create an account nor have the Skype app. With 1 link you can join a call as a guest and connect online.

We are redesigning the Meet Now lobby as well. Now it’s lighter weight, easy to use, and much better looking. We are working hard to make this experience the easiest, fastest, best, and most fun way to meet people online.

And while you might already know what call you have created, we cannot omit people who you share the link with. Thus, bringing in previews of join links filled with your call name and avatar of the call.

?Meet Now Join experience
And we aren’t just improving the experience for the person who creates the Meet Now call. We also wanted to make the experience more delightful and clear for the people you share the link with. We are adding previews to join links that will show the name and avatar of your call so folks will be more confident when they join that they are in the right place.

Supporting All Browsers

At Skype we’ve always tried to serve our users on whatever device or platform they use. But even though Skype works on a lot of browsers today, we still have some gaps. We are going to change that!

We believe the Skype experience should be seamless, accessible, and reliable no matter what browser or device you are using, so we are adding support for all browsers. We would like to make sure that no matter which device, platform, or browser you’re using, Skype will always give you a great experience.

microsoft edge icon     google chrome icon     safari browser icon     opera browser icon

Office Lens on iOS and Android

Skype is a great place to connect with family across the world to create and share memories. To make this even easier, we have improved our camera with Office Lens feature allowing you to capture your memories, create videos or scan documents, whiteboards and business cards in the smartest way.

TwinCam to the rescue

Have you ever wanted to show off your pet to a friend while on a video call on your computer, but you couldn’t get your dog to sit still or your camera to move quickly enough to show them? We’ve made it way easier and more fun to do that with a new feature we call “TwinCam”.
Image showing Twin Cam feature in action. Joining with second device to show 2 video streams.

Now if you want to show off your pet’s sleeping habits or need to tutor someone while showing multiple angles, it’s as easy as grabbing your mobile phone or whatever device you have handy and scanning a QR code to add it to the call as another camera! We match you with your video stream and you can impress everyone on the call.??

Customize notification sounds

One of the top feature requests we’ve gotten from all of you was to let people choose their own notification sounds. We listened, and now you can customize your notification sounds! It’s as easy as that. We will keep listening to your feedback and implementing features that you want, so keep letting us know what’s on your mind.

While we do love our own unique Skype sound, it could be a bit repetitive and who wouldn’t want to play around with some cool ring tones, like from the 90’s?

In-call reactions redesign & super reactions

We love reactions and super reactions on Skype. We believe that the Skype meeting experience is one of the best in the world and we want to make it even better. With our new reactions chooser, you’ll be able to choose any emotion and react within two seconds.

?Image showing new improved in call reactions with wide selection of reactions and option to customize.
With reactions, timing is everything. We didn’t want anyone to “miss the moment” again because it took too long to find the right reaction. So, when we redesigned the reaction chooser, we set a goal of making it so people could react with any emotion within two seconds. We added search, organized the reactions by feeling category, and added pinned items to keep your favorite reactions just a click away. We can’t wait to connect people on the call more closely by giving them the power to express themselves so much better and faster. The fun you will have with these will be priceless!

PSTN Translator

?Image showing new improved PSTN Translator in a call.While we love that you have so much fun during your Skype calls, sometimes the time comes when you need an incredibly practical feature to use — Skype Universal Translator.

If you’ve ever seen the television show Star Trek, you might have seen Captain Kirk talking with a being from another planet using a marvelous device called the Universal Translator. You might have thought, “Wow, I wish I could have something like that in real life!” Well now your wish has come true!

With Universal Translator, you can communicate with anyone in any language, on a landline or a video call. Low-cost calls with a real-time translator on top, we love bringing that science fiction from Star Trek to reality!

Source: Microsoft

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