Microsoft has recently launched a new version of its popular video messaging platform Skype.
The update was announced in a blog post and has completely changed the way the app looks. It now has a new set of functions and features that it hopes will see it rival other messaging platforms such as Snapchat and Facebook’s Messenger.
One of the new features is Highlights, and this sees Microsoft jumping on the bandwagon of other messaging services and social media sites by adding something similar to Snapchat’s Stories feature, which in recent times has been aped by Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram – all owned by social networking giant, Facebook.
The Highlights feature allows users to quickly take a picture or record a video before enabling them to personalise them with a set of emojis, drawing and texts. Unlike other platforms where the content is placed on a public storyboard, Highlights adopts a Twitter-like followers/following model and the content can only be viewed by contacts who follow your Highlights. However, users can share them with individual contacts manually – possibly as a ploy to get a follow.
Unlike the majority of platforms that have used this feature, Highlights will last for up to seven days before expiring, whereas most platforms get rid of them after 24 hours. Users can react to the content shared with emojis – similar to Facebook’s reactions.
Microsoft has suggested that the makeover for Skype has been worked on for more than a year and will represent the biggest revamp of the service since the introduction of its video sharing feature back in 2006. It has been revealed that the main idea behind the redesign is to make the service a better tool for sharing and communication amongst Skype users’ closely connected network, such as family and close friends.
Furthermore, another feature that is being rolled out on the platform is a set of bots and live chat add-ins to rival those of Facebook Messenger. Microsoft has envisioned that users will be able to chat to Cortana, the company’s virtual assistant, and its other assistant – Scoop. These bots will be able to provide the user will information and suggestions relating to any query they may have.
The update has already hit the mobile version of the app, with Android users able to access it now and iOS getting the update later this month. The desktop version of the app will be upgraded later on in the summer.