Skype Reveals Redesigned iOS App With Chat Bots and Snapchat-Like 'Highlights' Feature [Updated]

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Microsoft today introduced an enhanced, all-new version of Skype for iOS and Android devices that puts an emphasis on chats, chatbots, camera features, and its own version of Snapchat's Stories. The update comes with an overall change to Skype's visual design as well, with the company stating that it's decided to focus on allowing personal user choice to dictate how sections of the app look, including the ability to customize the app with your favorite color.

Skype's home screen now sits with a "Chat" window on launch, and users can easily swipe to the Camera and new "Highlights" feature, which is an extended version of Stories. Here, users can take a picture or video, decorate it with emojis and text, and then post it to their Highlight. After posting, content is available for a full week instead of just 24 hours, and only users who follow you can see your Highlight. Specific individuals and groups can also be sent a Highlight before it's posted.


Skype has also introduced Facebook-like reactions to both chats and Highlights, allowing users to select emojis to react to messages, pictures, and videos without having to text. In a talk with TechCrunch, Skype didn't balk at admitting it was inspired by Snapchat Stories, pointing out Facebook's own argument that the "Story" model is a format that can be used by anyone in the industry and isn't owned by Snapchat.
Highlights are Skype's own take on Stories - something the company readily admits. "It's like Facebook has said," says Amritansh Raghav, Corporate Vice President of Skype, referencing remarks made by Facebook's VP of messaging David Marcus, who recently argued that Stories "is definitely a format, the same way the feed is a format."

Raghav agrees. The feed is now commonly used in a range of apps - even those that aren't personal social networks, like Microsoft's business communications service Yammer. "There's a new medium that has risen," he says of Stories. "When you think about this new way of interacting, [we want that to be] available also in this application."
Microsoft is also introducing its smart assistant Cortana into Skype, providing shortcuts to users in texts and suggesting quick responses. Other bots, or "add-ins," include Gfycat, Giphy, MSN Weather, Bing, Polls, Expedia, Stubhub, BigOven, YouTube, and Upworthy.


Less emphasized in the update are Skype's traditional video call features, although they have received a few overhauls as well. Users will now be able to send large emojis over video chats, as well as text messages, stickers, and photos that appear as an overlay on the screen. Skype said that in the future it plans to introduce gaming features into video calls and the ability to synchronize and watch streaming videos together, rumored to begin with videos from YouTube, similar to Google's own UpTime app.

The Skype update launches on Android first today, and is set to roll out to iOS devices in about a month. Mac and Windows devices will receive the update sometime within the next few months.

Update June 28: The "new Skype" has now launched on the iOS App Store, with the app's update notes stating: "It's the Skype that you know and love but enhanced with new features to help you connect with the people you care about."

Article Link: Skype Reveals Redesigned iOS App With Chat Bots and Snapchat-Like 'Highlights' Feature [Updated]
 

67952

Suspended
Feb 24, 2006
207
209
Jesus H Christ....Does every messenger and communications app nowadays need to be redesigned to appeal to the teenage crowd? How many messenger apps need the ability to squiggle pointless doodles on photos and videos? This is getting ridiculous.
 

nnoble

macrumors 6502
Jun 19, 2011
422
486
Jesus H Christ....Does every messenger and communications app nowadays need to be redesigned to appeal to the teenage crowd? How many messenger apps need the ability to squiggle pointless doodles on photos and videos? This is getting ridiculous.
You beat me to it; glitzed up, dumbed down, built for teens to keep them glued to their mobile idiot boxes. How many decent apps have been destroyed by big enterprises who can't leave sodding well alone.
 

redscull

macrumors 6502a
Jul 1, 2010
779
734
Texas
So it's not really a true, pure chat/voip app anymore. It's more of a social app. I wonder how long until iMessage is updated with the concept of stories and followers..
 
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JosephAW

macrumors 68040
May 14, 2012
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Yes, but it's from Microsoft. And besides Skype no longer works on my PowerPC G5.
 

SoulCloud

macrumors member
Apr 8, 2016
62
129
How about users who use it to make proper phone calls or video calls or use it for business purposes? I pay for their VoIP service. I use their system to contact with customers even with their subpar quality these days. Now this is an outrageous move, Microsoft! Those smileys or stories! What I am going to do with those? Let's see how the future will unfold for Skype and all the other dimwits who thinks Snapchat is the thing to beat.
 

KALLT

macrumors 603
Sep 23, 2008
5,148
3,192
Any alternative apps for video/audio conference calls? Tried Oovoo in the past, but it wasn’t satisfactory.
 

ThunderSkunk

macrumors 68030
Dec 31, 2007
2,991
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Milwaukee Area
It would be great if someone at Microsoft could find the time to figure out how to get SMS messages through to skypes paid customers. Haven't successfully received one in 3 years. Makes authenticating stuff tricky.
 

aleksoctop

macrumors regular
May 8, 2011
111
29
The previous skype app was very confusing to use, but this - it seems they tried to simplify. Good. BUT. Simple, basic usability issue - someone saw two tiny top right navbar icons next to each other on the latest Facebook iteration and used it as a justification, maybe - because two tiny icons on the top right - I promise will be mistapped all the time. It's so on FB, it'll be so here. The reason you don't get the same accessibility up there is because it's relatively far away from where your hand is actually holding the phone. I'm kind-of shocked something so passe has inched back into the mainstream and really wish companies would stop justifying design decisions based on what some other tech company did or didn't do.
 

mox358

macrumors 6502
May 22, 2002
471
153
Indiana
This looks really, really bad. What sucks is I can imagine them integrating the unSnapified Skype into office and make us start paying monthly for it.

Any alternative apps for video/audio conference calls? Tried Oovoo in the past, but it wasn’t satisfactory.
I second this..I use skype for podcasting and we need solid audio, not stickers and emoji. I haven't been able to find a decent alternative myself.
 
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