Skype

How to customize the appearance of Skype on Mac

Skype on Mac

If you use Skype for chats or calls on your Mac, you might get bored with the appearance from time to time. But, you do have a few options to change the look and feel of the Skype window. Here’s how to customize the appearance of Skype to fit your taste or even your mood.

Skype rolling out revamped desktop app with cloud file sharing, customizable themes & more

A major redesign of Skype's desktop app, previewed in mid-August, is rolling out today.

According to Microsoft, Skype for Mac includes themes with customizable colors, the ability to organize your chats by time, unread or status, pin people or groups, standard/compact view, cloud-based media sharing (up to 300 MB per file) and cross-device functionality.

From the Skype blog:

With the new Skype, you can get more done on your PC. We know that changing devices interrupts your flow—no one wants to switch from their computer to their phone just to have a better conversation experience. Now you can send and receive Skype messages in real-time, answer calls directly from your PC and share your screen to present your latest ideas to colleagues.

Other features in this release include reactions for messages and video calls, @mentions, status updates (with mood messages), chat bots and more.

Desktop Skype now includes a bell icon that you can click to reveal an all-new notification panel (this is where you'll also see reactions to your messages, @mentions in group conversations or if someone quoted you). With a new chat media gallery, all your shared content like media, links and files is available in one central place, and you can even sort items by type.

Lastly, Microsoft announced that Skype add-ins are now available now to Skype Insiders.

“It’s now easier than ever to complete everyday tasks in Skype. From sending a Giphy, scheduling an event or sending money to pulling up the latest in the news—our add-ins help you get more done within Skype,” notes the firm.

The Windows maker revamped its mobile Skype apps for iPhone and iPad in June 2017 which, among other enhancements, brought a Snapchat-like Highlights feature that allows users to share auto-vanishing photos and videos that can be decorated with emoji and text.

Highlights is not part of today's update to the desktop app.

Skype for Mac can be downloaded from skype.com/download.

Skype previews upcoming Mac app revamp

Microsoft today announced availability of Skype Preview for Mac and non-Windows 10 PC users, highlighting some of the features recently launched in Skype for iPhone that are coming soon to its desktop apps for Mac and Windows computers. 

Skype for iPhone gains chat bots, its version of Stories, message & in-call reactions and more

Following a preview at the start of June, Microsoft today began rolling out a redesigned Skype for iPhone app with a refined user interface and new capabilities such as chat bots, a Snapchat-like Highlights feature, message and in-call reactions, easier photo capture and more.

Aside from Microsoft's own smart assistant Cortana, other chat bots now available or coming soon to Skype for iPhone include Gfycat, Giphy, MSN Weather, Bing, Polls, Expedia, Stubhub, BigOven, YouTube and Upworthy.

With in-call reactions, users can add live emoticons, live text and even real-time photos to an overlay that appears on their video and voice calls. Similarly, message reactions let you inform your chat participants how you feel by adding expressive reactions to your chats.

The new Home screen launches with your chat view, but you can now swipe left to get to the Skype camera or swipe right to show your Highlights. Speaking of which, Highlights is a new Snapchat-like feature that lets you share your day-to-day with friends and family on Skype while keeping up with what they are up to.

Your highlight is basically a collection of photos and videos that you can decorate with emojis and text. Only people who follow you on Skype can see your highlights.

You can also respond to others' highlights by reacting with emoticons or even use them as a conversation starter. Unlike Snapchat, your published highlights remain live for a full week.

It remains to be seen if Highlights gains any traction given that every major chat app now has a similar feature of its own. Between Snapchat Stories, Facebook and Instagram Stories, I'm not sure I have the time to update Skype Highlights for my contacts on a daily basis.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qItfRVJFljM

Microsoft readily admits that Highlights is a Snapchat clone.

“There’s a new medium that has risen,” Amritansh Raghav, Corporate Vice President of Skype, said recently of Stories in a comment to TechCrunch. “When you think about this new way of interacting, we want that to be available also in this app.”

The new features are available in Skype for iPhone, but not in Skype for iPad. Skype for Mac and Windows computers will receive the new capabilities within the next few months.

According to Microsoft, a future version of Skype will integrate gaming features into video calls and users will have the ability to synchronize and watch streaming videos together.

Visit skype.com/new to learn more about the app's latest feature additions.

Skype for iPhone and Skype for iPad are available free on App Store.

Skype is getting a major redesign with Snapchat-like features

Microsoft on Thursday unveiled a major redesign for its Skype video conferencing app. Rebuilt from the ground up, the company says the new app vastly improves the ways you can connect with your favorite people, putting chat front and center.

Early reactions to the new design have pointed out that the interface has kind of a Snapchat vibe. Group chats are more lively, expressive and personalized, and there's a new Stories-like Highlights section that allows you to share a photo or video.

Highlights can be decorated with emojis and text, and they remain available for a full week instead of the usual 24 hours. They can be viewed by anyone who follows you on Skype, or you can choose to send your Highlights to a specific group or user.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RU9w41tPXyc

Other new features include Facebook-like reactions to Highlights and chats, in-video chat overlays for emojis, text, stickers and photos, and the addition of smart assistant Cortana. Skype is also adding bots from Bing, Expedia, YouTube and others.

The Skype update hits Android first, later today, iOS within the next few weeks, and Mac and Windows devices within the next few months.

Source: Skype

When is Apple going to pay FaceTime the attention it deserves?

The other day I overheard a woman at the coffee shop spiritedly conversing on FaceTime with what I can only presume was her mother. The topic of discussion had been the daughter’s holiday trip, and her mom said something that struck a chord with me: why can’t you show me the photos on here? This got me thinking (at which point I stopped listening in, promised). Since its inception, FaceTime has received dreadfully little attention from Apple. The introduction of FaceTime Audio aside, the service practically makes for an absolute freeze-up in an otherwise constantly forward moving software environment.

As consumers, we have become used to companies spending more resources and time on pet projects of theirs and conversely less on comparably idle services, but what is astonishing is that this analogy does not explain the ongoing neglect of FaceTime. Because for all its faults and plainness, FaceTime is tremendously popular. For reasons only known to the Cupertino giant however, it does barely show in the application’s development. To add insult to injury, the lackluster state is likely to persist for yet another year until the next big software update for iOS rolls in. Never mind the fact this means forever in industry years, but it’s even worse because FaceTime is already adrift of the competition.

With that said, it is time for Apple to start play catch-up and resuscitate the service. Since the coffee shop encounter, I have been mulling over how Apple could ramp up the offering realistically in the near future. Here is what I believe is feasible and crucial for FaceTime to implement within the next year:

How to use less cellular data in the Skype app

If you're a Skype user and frequently use the iPhone or iPad app to keep in touch with people, then you could benefit from knowing how to limit cellular data use to prevent your capped data plan from burning through your limits too quickly.

Fortunately, Skype comes with some options you can use configure to fine-tune your data usage whenever you're not connected to a Wi-Fi network.

Join Microsoft’s Skype Insider initiative to beta-test upcoming features

Microsoft is launching a new Skype Insider initiative which invites users to download pre-release builds and test upcoming features before they're rolled out to everyone.

Microsoft already has similar programs available for Windows and the Xbox and now Skype users can sign up online at the Skype Insiders registration form. If you decide to participate in the program, you will be permitted to install pre-release builds of Skype alongside your current version of the app.