Microsoft has announced a major new update for Skype, overhauling the interface with a fresh new look. The new Skype is totally rebuilt from the ground up with a new design and some handy new features to boot.
The new interface is split into tabs that let you quickly move to different parts of the app with a swipe. The whole interface can be customized with colors of your choosing as well. The examples of the redesign show off a bold and colorful interface, but customization presumably means you can tone that down a notch or two if it's not for you.
The new Skype is also taking a bit of a cue from Snapchat with a new feature called Highlights. Living in its own tab next to chats, Highlights lets you post photos and videos of your day for others to see in a dedicated feed. The whole thing sounds similar to Snapchat stories. From Microsoft:
Highlights lets you create a highlight reel of your day with photos and videos, so you can share everyday moments. To post a Highlight, swipe to access your camera, take a photo or video, then post it to your Highlights or send it directly to your contacts or groups. Once you post a Highlight, your friends and family can react to it with emoticons or by jumping into a conversation. The new Skype is your canvas, and now you're free to share in more expressive ways with your closest friends, family and groups.
Another tab, labeled Find, makes it simple to track down add-ins and bots you might want to add to the experience. Given Skype's — and Microsoft's as a whole — emphasis on bots as of late, that's no surprise.
All of Skype's familiar features, of course, remain intact. Calling is still here, and chat remains front and center in its own dedicated tab. The biggest change is simply the new look, which is likely to cause polarizing reactions between those embracing the breath of fresh air and those who much prefer the current design.
Frustratingly, Windows users will have to wait a bit longer to get their hands on this refresh. Microsoft says the redesign is gradually rolling out on Android over the next several weeks, with iPhone to follow. Windows and Mac versions will be released "over the next few months."
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