Microsoft has finally rolled out the new Skype for desktop users. Earlier when Microsoft announced a newly designed update for mobile devices, they told that they are working on a newer version for desktop users as well. The desktop app was available in preview since August 2017.
The major updates that Skype has been getting are mainly to keep up with the increasing competition. Skype, with its new identity, aims to compete in the market with famous apps like Slack, WhatsApp and even Snapchat with its stories-like “Highlights” feature.
The “Highlights” feature hasn’t been made available to desktop users yet, mainly because of the backlash it received from mobile users. Instead of “Highlights”, you can now update your status for all your Skype contacts.
Major changes brought to the desktop are mainly based on user feedback from mobile users.
As mentioned earlier the major changes are similar to its redesigned mobile app. With new desktop app, you can now
- Color-code each person’s message in a group chat.
- React to messages with emoji—- similar to Facebook Messenger. This feature is also available during a video call, where emoji appear as a pop-up on the video caller’s window temporarily.
- Organize contacts the way you want. You can organize them based on time and read or unread status.
- Pin individual contacts and groups to easily access them on top.
- Mentions for gaining a person’s attention. Just like other social media services, you have to use the ‘@’ sign to mention someone
- Giphy support, which lets you send GIFs to your contacts.
The new desktop app has more personalization options. You can now choose a dark theme for the app. The inspiration for this feature comes from YouTube and Twitter’s night mode options.
One other useful feature is the media gallery in each chat. This is similar to WhatsApp’s media gallery in groups and conversations, which lets you access all the images, videos and other media. You can sort these files based on their type with Microsoft giving you 300 MB of cloud storage for this purpose.
Microsoft has introduced its “Scoop” bot in the desktop app to keep you updated on the news. There are various other bots available as add-ins that can be used to send money, schedule events or perform other tasks.
Microsoft announced that it has surpassed the one billion download mark on Google Play Store. Furthermore, they also said that Skype users have made more than 2 trillion minutes of video calls since 2006. Currently the users make 3 billion minutes of calls per day.
However, Microsoft didn’t update the media about how many daily active users it has now. Last year, Skype’s announced statistics showed that it had 300 million monthly users. Microsoft’s failure to update this number clearly shows that Skype has failed to gain more users. Moreover, Skype also has to compete with Slack, which has 6 million daily active users currently.
Where to Download
You will either get the new app via automatic updates if enabled or you can manually download it from the online store. The new app is available for Mac, Windows 10 (November 2016 update and lower), Windows 8, Windows 7, and Linux.