Skype has become something of a secondary communication app following the success of Microsoft Teams. Certainly, Microsoft puts more resources into updating Teams with new features on a regular basis. However, Skype has not been forgotten and Microsoft is now announcing a bunch of new features coming to the platform.
In a roadmap of changes coming to Skype over the coming month, Microsoft is showing the next era of the platform. Skype is an old service by now, but it has been refreshed several times in the past. While Microsoft is not planning a complete overhaul, it is making changes to help the app compete in a Zoom world.
We will jump straight into the changes, but it is worth noting Microsoft is offering no launch dates for any new features. “Coming soon” or “coming later this year” on that front.
Leading the list of changes is a new stage for calls. The grid system that displays all participants in a call will now show everybody, even if they do not have their camera on. This is a very Zoom and Microsoft Teams inspired feature and makes it easier to track participants.
Furthermore, the call stage is also getting some customization options in the form of theme and layouts. In terms of the latter, you users can choose between Together Mode, content view, grid view, speaker view, and large gallery.
When a participant is only in audio mode, Skype will provide more options for how you see them. This includes the ability to choose customized backgrounds for audio caller windows.
Moving away from the call stage, Microsoft is also refreshing the whole Skype application. For example, there is a new layout system coming to Chat headers, including group avatars and button gradients. Microsoft is also tapping into its Fluent Design UI aesthetic across the Skype experience to add a new theme and look to the app.
Furthermore, Microsoft is promising to improve Skype across all web browsers:
“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 is also talking up a feature known as TwinCam, which allows users to pair their smartphone with Skype to function as a second camera during calls. Finally, the PSTN Translator addition allows direct communication with people who speak another language during voice and video calls.
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