Microsoft to update Skype: Here’s what we know

Yesterday Microsoft announced that Skype will be updated with new features as the long since forgotten video conferencing application has fallen behind the times. Microsoft which has put most of it’s energy behind its Teams app, is finally refreshing the nearly two-decades-old Skype, and quite honestly I’m pondering as to why? Why do we need a Skype refresh? Maybe it’s time to put it to bed, as the video conferencing and call app market is oversaturated. 

In its release Microsoft promises “an improved, faster, reliable, and super modern-looking Skype.” According to the company, the updates are based on user feedback. The seven people still using Skype will be thrilled. 

Skype’s upcoming improvements

The first improvement discussed in the release focuses on light. Microsoft states, “we believe we’ve designed the most beautiful call stage in the world,” which is a bold claim for something that looks to be just playing catch up with Google Meet. As the image shows a tiled window grid familiar to anyone who has been working remotely these past 18 months. 

Skype update

(Image credit: Microsoft )

Microsoft says, ” We wanted to make sure the app still felt familiar while we modernized the look and feel and made the experience more inclusive.” The shared images show that the upgrade is very clean and bright, even in dark mode, but it looks like Google Meet.  This is fine but, if you’re going to update or refresh an application, shouldn’t you want it to stand apart? 

The company says that the new call stage makes the user a priority, as you will now be able to see yourself in the main view. The other improvement to the design is “a more natural grid, and no one will be left alone on the upper tray again because we bring you all together. All participants— even if they aren’t sharing the 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.” sound familiar? 

Microsoft to update Skype

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft is also updating the entire application to improve performance across the device spectrum. There will be a new layout, chat headers, buttons, and group avatars using its Fluent Design UI cross platforms to make the new experience seamless and more accessible to all.  To Microsoft’s credit, it sounds more functional than Apple’s recent attempt to allow Android and PC users the ability to take part in FaceTime. 

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