Microsoft announced an updated version of its Skype app for iOS today, bringing a big redesign to the fore along with new features inspired by other popular apps.
Skype is now designed on iOS (and Android) to bring a sharp focus on some of its built-in features, including chat bots, conversations with other real people, and even a new Snapchat Stories-like feature baked right in. Of course, camera features also get time to shine in this redesigned app, and users can even decide which colors are prominent throughout the app as Microsoft lets them choose how they want Skype to look.
There is a new “Highlights” feature in Skype, which is accessible just by swiping off the primary Chats screen. Just like we’ve seen in Snapchat and Instagram, Skype users will be able to use the Highlights feature to take a photo or video, add text to it, or emoji and stickers, and then post it to their own Highlights reel. It will disappear after 24 hours. What’s more, only folks who follow you on Skype will be able to see it.
Interestingly enough, Skype’s Corporate Vice President Amritansh Raghav isn’t hesitant about showing the connection, or inspiration, of Skype’s redesign with those other popular apps, as noted by TechCrunch:
“It’s like Facebook has said,” says Raghav, referencing remarks made by Facebook’s VP of messaging David Marcus, who recently argued that Stories “is definitely a format, the same way the feed is a format.”
Raghav agrees. The feed is now commonly used in a range of apps – even those that aren’t personal social networks, like Microsoft’s business communications service Yammer.
“There’s a new medium that has risen,” he says of Stories. “When you think about this new way of interacting, [we want that to be] available also in this application.”
Chat bots are now part of Skype, too, something we’ve seen in apps like Facebook Messenger and many others. That includes Microsot’s digital personal assistant, Cortana. Others include Gfycat, Stubhub, Expedia, YouTube, UpWorthy, and many others.
Finally, the traditional video calling is still part of Skype, but it’s getting a bit of a modernizing, too. Specifically, while you’re on a video call you’ll be able to send stickers or emoji, and even photos, which will appear in a new overlay over the call for a brief period of time.
It’s worth noting here that Skype’s major redesign is rolling out to the Android platform first, but it’s coming to iOS “in about a month.” For Mac users, and even Windows PC fans, the update will appear within the next few months.
How are you liking all these apps taking after Snapchat?