Skype Brings Next-Generation Mobile Experience to Desktop in New Mac Preview

Skype today announced the release of a preview version of its next-generation desktop software, which is designed to emulate the redesigned mobile experience that it released in June.

The new version of Skype shares design elements with the mobile version, but it has been created for the desktop's larger screen. Microsoft calls it the "most expressive Skype ever" with livelier group chats, real-time screen and photo sharing, and more.


Skype's redesign features a new notification panel that displays mentions and message reactions, allowing users to better keep up with conversations.

There's a new chat media gallery for keeping track of photos and documents shared in a chat, and group calls feature in-call reactions with emoji that can be shared.


Skype Preview is available immediately for Mac users via the Skype Insider website.

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You Can Now Send Money With PayPal in Skype App on iPhone and iPad

Skype today announced that users across 22 countries can now send money with PayPal in its mobile app for iOS and Android.


Skype said the person-to-person payments feature is rolling out today in the United States, United Kingdom, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain.

Where available, users will need to link their PayPal account to their Skype profile. In a chat, users can then swipe right, tap Send Money, and complete the near-instant money transfer process, which is handled by PayPal. Both the sender and recipient must reside in one of the 22 countries supported.

PayPal within Skype will support currency exchange as usual. If a user is sending funds from the United States, for example, to someone in Europe, the user will have the option to send money in euros if preferred.

The feature will require the latest version of Skype for iOS, available as a free download on the App Store [Direct Link]. However, users receiving money can have any version of the Skype app installed.

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Skype Reveals Redesigned iOS App With Chat Bots and Snapchat-Like ‘Highlights’ Feature

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.

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