It’s been available in preview for several months, but today, October 31, Microsoft is rolling out its new-look Skype desktop app for everyone who still uses the software to keep in touch with friends and family.
Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and coming exactly a year after the team introduced an overhauled version for mobile, the revamped version aims to make the user experience smoother while throwing in a few new features.
Anyone who engages with Skype regularly and across multiple machines will be pleased to learn that the software will now sync between them. In others words, you’ll find your messages and content available anywhere you have Skype installed, whether it’s your smartphone, tablet, desktop, Xbox, smart speakers, and more.
You’ll also find customizable themes to make the experience easier on the eye, themes that apparently “reflect your mood, personality, or time of day,” according to a post announcing the revamped software.
There’s a “chat list,” too, that lets you organize your contact list by time, unread, or status, and you can pin people or groups for quick access. You’ll find more versatile display options as well, so you can switch the view from standard to compact, or simply collapse the chat list to focus more on your content.
In an effort to improve your productivity, the team has introduced a new notification panel, a hub that holds all of your incoming messages and @mentions in group conversations, while it also lets you know if someone has quoted you. You can jump straight to a conversation by clicking on any of the messages showing in the notification panel.
Skype made its name all those years ago through its video calling features, and this of course is still central to the Skype experience. Playing catch-up with competing apps, it’s jazzing up the experience with a new reactions button to let you express how you’re feeling during a conversation. There’s also a mentions feature for group conversations where you can hit the “@” mark and then type a person’s name to quickly send a message only to them.
That’s just a brief overview of what’s new with the latest version of Skype for desktop. It will arrive as an automatic download for users who have that setting enabled; otherwise you can download it manually via Skype’s website.
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