Skype is testing a new Android app with a new design, reaction feature, and Bing integration

February 16, 2017

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Editor’s note: This exact same app is coming to iOS as well, according to Microsoft.

Skype’s Android app is a fairly well-designed app with a bunch of features that is pretty great…when it works. Skype apps across different platforms have some issues, although Microsoft has done a pretty good job at fixing some of the issues when the company moved to a modern infrastructure. The Skype UWP app on Windows 10 is a good example of the “modern Skype” that works pretty great for the most part, but it isn’t full-featured just yet. And now, it looks like Microsoft is working on a similar reboot for the Skype app on Android.

The software giant recently released a new Skype Preview app on Android, for those part of the Skype Insiders program. The new Skype app for Android is a completely revamped Skype — from the icons, to the layout of the app has been completely redesigned. If you have used the new Skype Preview app on Windows 10, you’ll notice that the icons on the new Android app are exactly like the ones on the Windows 10 app which is pretty great to see as it improves the consistency of the service’s design — which, to be honest, is still lacking on some Microsoft services unfortunately.

As for the features of the new Skype, you will get almost all of the features that are on the old Skype app — but Microsoft has added some neat new features to the new Skype app. For instance, Bing is integrated right into conversations and it has a dedicated tab on the chat UI that will easily let you search anything you want on the web. Once you search something, you can share the search results in a conversation with a single tap. Along with Bing, Microsoft has also integrated Giphy¬†— which will let you share GIFs in conversations easily. Microsoft says the company will be adding more tools like this in the near-future — which you’ll presumably be able to activate if you want:

As you can see in one of the screenshots above, Microsoft has also added a new “react” feature that essentially lets you react to a message in a conversation. This feature is pretty useless in a one-to-one conversation, but it should be a neat feature in group chats where users would be able to react to each other’s messages via emojis.

One interesting fact: The new Skype app is built using Facebook’s React Native framework, which could possibly mean that Skype users on iOS will get a similar app soon.

The new Skype app for Android is looking really good at the moment, and it’ll likely get rolled out to more users in the coming months. If you are interested in trying out the new Skype experience on Android, you can get the new app from the Google Play Store here.

Huge thanks to MSPU Reader Daniil M. for the tip!

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