After months of testing, Microsoft is bringing its updated Skype for desktop experience to all. Like the preview before it, this revamp applies to the standard desktop Skype app, and not the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app found on the Microsoft Store — though Microsoft says it will receive an update with new features soon.
The update carries over the same aesthetic flourishes seen in the Android and iOS Skype updates that rolled out over the summer. That includes plenty of pops of color and customizable themes. A dedicated notification panel can show you recent notifications, @mentions, and reactions. Microsoft also says add-ins are also currently available for Skype Insiders, allowing you to use other services, like Giphy, inside of Skype. A chat-media gallery is also available for perusing media, links, and files you exchanged with friends and colleagues over the course of your conversations.
Here's a look at a bit of what else is new in the revamped Skype for desktop:
- Reactions— Easily express how you're feeling by reacting to messages in conversations or during video calls. Simply click the reaction icon so everyone knows how you're feeling.
- @mentions— If you'd like to get someone's attention in a group chat, type the @ symbol followed by their name to send them a notification so that they can easily respond to the message.
- Status updates are back— Let your colleagues, friends, and family know when you are and aren't available to chat by changing your presence, or set a mood message to share what's going on.
- Bots— Scoop, Hipmunk, and many more bots help you make plans and stay informed. Pull ticket pricing and seating options directly into a one-to-one or group chat with the StubHub bot. Planning a weekend getaway with old friends? Chat with the Expedia bot to check flight times and pricing.
All of this is in addition to the backend work Microsoft has done to keep chats synced through the cloud.
Microsoft says that the Skype for desktop update is rolling out now to "Skype for Mac, Windows 10 November Update (2016) and lower, Windows 8, Windows 7, or Linux." If you have automatic updates turned on, you should snag the update automatically "when it's ready," Microsoft says. As for the Windows 10 Store app, Microsoft says "users will receive an update shortly to add the new features," but there's no timeline available.
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