Microsoft has been working on an update to its desktop and mobile Skype clients across Windows, Mac, and Linux and they are now releasing the desktop client for all users beginning today.
After a three month preview where the company shipped multiple versions of the program to preview members for feedback, the updated desktop client has begun its formal roll-out to users on Mac, Linux, Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and versions of Windows 10 older than the November Update.
Note: If you are on a more recent version of Windows 10 then you should be using the Skype app from the Microsoft Store. According to Microsoft that version will get these same updates in the near future.
This update, like its mobile sibling, uses a massive infrastructure upgrade for Skype that was announced in 2016 that moved the system from a peer to peer network to one that is based in the cloud using a client/server system. This upgrade meant a more robust system that would provide greater reliability and new ways to communicate with your contacts.
The overall themes of this desktop client upgrade is to make Skype a place to make personal connections each day, increase your productivity, and helping you to keep in touch with less effort.
Here is a rundown of the features that Microsoft is highlighting with this release:
- Customizeable Themes
- Chat List: Options to organization by time, unread messages, or their online status. Create groups for easy access and use new standard and compact views to save screen real estate.
- Cloud-Based: Share files, photos, and videos up to 300 MB in size by just dragging them to your contact in Skype.
- Cross-Device Functionality: Use Skype on Desktop (Windows, Mac, Linux), Mobile (iOS, Android, Windows 10 Mobile), Xbox, Smart Speakers (Harman Kardon Invoke). The experience will be similar across all of the devices that shows you the programs UI.
- Notification Panel: Track unread messages, reactions, mentions, and quotes. Head straight into conversations by clicking on the message from that chat.
- Chat Media Gallery: Shared content can be quickly located in the Gallery where you will find the media, links, and files you have shared with your contacts.
- Reactions: Use this option to react to messages in chat or on video calls.
- @Mentions: Someone can get your attention or you can get someone else's attention by using an @Mention. This will show up in their Notification Panel so they can find it easily and respond.
- Status Updates: A favorite in past versions of Skype - these have returned so you can let your friends, family, and co-workers know what you are up to on your end.
- Bots, Bots, and Bots: Microsoft started talking about Bots in Skype during Build 2016 and they are growing in leaps and bounds. They range in capabilities from fun to functional and you can check out all of the available bots to look for both options.
If you are on any of the clients I mentioned earlier the updated desktop client is starting to push out to devices however, you can go ahead and grab the new version of Skype for your desktop by visiting the Skype Download page.