Hands On: Next Generation Skype Preview for Windows 7, 8.1, and Mac Desktops

Over the last couple of years Microsoft has been doing a lot of work on Skype. Some of it has been well received and other elements not so much. 

However, I have come to discover in watching people talk about their experiences with Skype that it tends to put folks in one of three camps.

Loving it, hating it, or tolerating it because they have to use it.

I use Skype daily and have not experienced any serious issues with it so I am one of those who pretty much love it for the capabilities it provides me to do my job and stay in touch with family and friends around the world.

Development efforts have been steady on the Skype UWP app for Windows 10 on PCs, Tablets, Xbox One, Hololens, and Mobile plus next generation versions have been released for iOS and Android.

The one version of Skype that has not changed a whole lot while these other versions have been getting next generation make overs is the desktop version of the software.

This week that changed as Microsoft released a new desktop version of Skype to their Insider program that is solely for Windows 7, 8.1 and Mac desktops. This update, which can be installed alongside the existing Skype Desktop software, provides several new features although it is not able to deliver them all due to the focus on the larger screens on desktops.

Some of those enhancements you will see in the new Skype Preview for Desktops include:

-- @mentions, message reactions and a new notification panel—Stay on top of your day with help from the notification panel. Quickly jump back into conversations where you were @mentioned to see how people reacted to what you’ve said.

-- New chat media gallery—Finding shared content—such as links, documents, or media—in a chat has never been easier with the chat gallery.

-- Enhanced group calls—Customize your group call experience with drag and drop ease. Say it with an emoji using our new in-call reactions, too!

There are also light and dark themes available which has seemed to become a standard option in most software these days.

The experience looks a lot like a mobile version of Skype but they have done a good job of making it fit in a desktop environment.

So whether you love, hate, or tolerate Skype it looks like this might be the future of desktop Skype on non-Windows 10 PCs and Macs so it is a pretty good time to start trying things out.

Note: The gallery images are from the install of the Skype Preview for Desktops in a Windows 7 Virtual Machine.


But, wait...there's probably more so be sure to follow me on Twitter and Google+.

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