The new look first launched for mobile devices in June, and then, in August, Microsoft said it was testing similar changes for the desktop side of Skype. It wasn't yet complete though, as Microsoft was looking for your feedback. The new desktop design, however, is now launching. Here's everything you need to know about what's different.
What's new in the Skype desktop preview?
The new Skype desktop design has all the same features, as well as a similar look, to what's found on the new Skype mobile experience. But it is specifically designed with desktop in mind, to take full advantage of the larger screen, according to Microsoft. For instance, chats are up front and center, but you can still do group calls, with real-time screen sharing and photo sharing.
Here's what's different:
- New chat list: You can now organise your contact list by time, unread, or status. You can also pin people or groups. And to see more on your screen, you can change the view from standard to compact, or collapse the chat list.
- @mentions, message reactions, and a new notification panel: Microsoft said you're now able to "quickly jump back into conversations where you were @mentioned to see how people reacted to what you’ve said," and you can keep track of your mentions in the notification panel.
- New chat media gallery: It's easier to find your media content, like links and documents and photos, in a chat, thanks to the new chat media gallery. Skype Insiders can also use add-ins, which can be added into each chat, such as GIF-based apps or apps for scheduling, sending money, video sharing, and more.
- Enhanced group calls: You can now drag and drop in group calls and communicate with emojis thanks to new in-call reactions. When in a video chat or a text conversation, you can also set status updates to let friends know when you aren't available.
- Bots: Bots called Scoop, Hipmunk, and more are available to help. Microsoft said you can pull ticket pricing and seating options directly into a one-to-one or group chat with the StubHub bot, for instance, or you can chat with the Expedia bot to check flight times and pricing, etc.
- Customisable themes: The Skype desktop on PC desktops and Macs lets you personalise your conversations with themes. You can use the classic theme or go with a dark theme.
- Cloud-based: Skype is now cloud-based, making sharing files, photos, and videos is easier. You can send up to 300MB over Skype by dragging and dropping the file.
- Message history: You can still access all the chats and calls you've had on Skype. They're now stored in the cloud for two years.
- Cross-device functionality: The new Skype also works across multiple devices - from mobile, desktop, Xbox, smart speakers, and more. Your messages and content are available anywhere you have Skype installed.
When can you get the new Skype?
Skype said that anyone with automatic updates enabled on Mac, Windows 10 November Update (2016) and lower, Windows 8, Windows 7, or Linux will get the update on 30 October via an automatic over-the-air rollout. To download it manually, go to Skype.com.
How can you test upcoming features?
You can test even more new features coming to Skype, as long as you're a non-Windows 10 PC or Mac user, by becoming a Skype Insider. It's free to join and test. If you’re using the Skype preview app on Windows desktops (not the new Store app), you can download the test app here.