Microsoft's future vision of Skype has a wow effect [Video]

skype future

Microsoft launched its preview of Skype for Business just a few days ago, and although Skype has practically become a world standard in video communication, Microsoft wants to take things much further.

The Skype of today is just the beginning of what is set to be a powerful piece of software that not only breaks language barriers, but aims to have presence in even more places and devices in a much more profound way while being cross-platform compatible.

Microsoft sees Skype as an all-around communication tool that will be home to real-time annotations between users, and a much more compelling collaboration experience between users, all while breaking the language barrier.

Microsoft has demonstrated the power of Skype when used with HoloLens, with the use of Holograms and real-time holographic annotations. The newly announced Surface Hub, a giant 84” touchscreen display is another prime example of how Skype will push collaboration and meetings to a new level.

Although these examples are forward-leaning, Microsoft sees a future that is much more profound.  Microsoft has released a video of how they see Skype evolving in their vision of the future. This video really gives you that wow effect, and not because it’s so futuristic, but because the future portrayed in the video doesn’t seem too distant when observing how rapidly Microsoft is evolving Skype.

Microsoft Rolling Out Skype for Web (Beta)

sfw2Skype is the most popular video communications platform in the world and today Microsoft has rolled out Skype for Web Beta which enables users to video chat without installing Skype software on a computer. This is especially handy for those on the go, for example in internet cafés or at a hotel computer whilst on vacation.

This feature will be available through Skype.com for PC and Mac in the coming weeks (the roll-out begins today). Skype for Web is compatible with many newer browsers such as Internet Explorer (10+), Latest Chrome on Windows, Firefox or Safari (6+) on Windows PC or Mac.

According to Microsoft “Skype and our friends at Internet Explorer are starting to implement the technology to make Real-Time Communications (RTC) on the web a reality, but for now, before your first call, you’ll need to install a small plug-in to start your conversation. In the future, using Skype on the web will become even easier and convenient.”

Keep in mind, this product is still in Beta and there are still some quirks to be worked out. According to Microsoft there are two known issues:

– Issue with battery consumption when running Skype for Web on a Mac.
– Outgoing Skype calls can take longer than normal to ring.

Source: Microsoft/Skype

Microsoft to rebrand the next version of Lync to "Skype for Business"

In an effort to simplify and unify its product portfolio, Microsoft will rebrand Lync-its next version of its enterprise communication software to “Skype for Business”.  This will happen sometime in the first half of 2015 and will feature familiar Skype icons for calling, adding video and adding a call.

They also added the call monitor from Skype which keeps an active call visible in a small window even when a user moves focus to another application.

At the same time, Skype for Business keeps and improves on all of the capabilities of Lync, including content sharing and telephony. For example, transferring a call now takes only one touch or click instead of three.”

Microsoft’s Lync is a widely popular service which is included in the Enterprise edition of Office 365, and perhaps using the name Skype may be a better idea since it’s a widely known name and more consumer-friendly.  This move may also entice smaller businesses to adopt it due to the Lync name being more intimidating with enterprise association.

Source: Skype Blog

Microsoft to rebrand the next version of Lync to "Skype for Business"

In an effort to simplify and unify its product portfolio, Microsoft will rebrand Lync-its next version of its enterprise communication software to “Skype for Business”.  This will happen sometime in the first half of 2015 and will feature familiar Skype icons for calling, adding video and adding a call.

They also added the call monitor from Skype which keeps an active call visible in a small window even when a user moves focus to another application.

At the same time, Skype for Business keeps and improves on all of the capabilities of Lync, including content sharing and telephony. For example, transferring a call now takes only one touch or click instead of three.”

Microsoft’s Lync is a widely popular service which is included in the Enterprise edition of Office 365, and perhaps using the name Skype may be a better idea since it’s a widely known name and more consumer-friendly.  This move may also entice smaller businesses to adopt it due to the Lync name being more intimidating with enterprise association.

Source: Skype Blog

Skype Translator Preview Program Opens Today – Here's How To Join

Back in May, Microsoft has announced that they are working on Skype Translator – Microsoft’s breakthrough technology in real-time speech translation. Since the announcement that featured a full hands-on demo (see video above), Skype engineers have been hard at work focusing on getting the new technology behind Skype Translator ready for a preview release.

“Skype is breaking down communications barriers by delivering voice and video across a number of devices to more than 300 million connected users each month who talk for more than 2 billion minutes each day. Language barriers have been a hindrance to productivity and human connection, but Skype Translator will pave the way for a more personal and more human era of computing. Stay tuned! We’ll have more to share in the weeks to come.”

skype-translator

Starting today, Skype Translator preview program is available and you can register right here.

“Help shape the future of Skype by using this fantastic new real-time speech translator” according to Microsoft page where the company invites users to join the Free Preview program.

The Skype Translator Preview is initially only available for users running on Windows 8.1 computers and tablets and only a few languages are going to be supported, for now.

Here is how Skype Translator works and the key features the service will offer

Speak another language without learning another language. Simply set up a Skype video or voice call with someone who speaks another language to you and start talking.

– Your conversation is translated into their language in real time.

– And what they say is translated back in your language.

– An on-screen transcript of your call is displayed.

– Instant message chats in 45 languages can be translated.

Click here to sign up, there is limited number of preview spots available according to Microsoft.

Source: Skype

Skype Update for Windows Phone 8/8.1 Brings Drawing, HD Screen Support

skype_windows_phone_drawing_updateMicrosoft’s Skype app for Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 8.1 gets an exciting update today that brings drawing to Skype for the first time. Now you can get creative and draw on a canvas, “add silly touches to a photo or draw the fastest route on a map and share it with your friends and family” according to an official blog post by Skype team.

Skype for Windows Phone is now at version 2.24 and this latest update brings the following features:

• Drawing
Click the ‘+’ icon in a chat and select ‘drawing’ to draw a picture, add a personal touch to a photo or annotate a Bing map.

• Sign In Improvements
On Windows Phone 8.1, to save time you can now automatically sign in using the Microsoft Account linked to your phone. Plus, we’ve heard existing users ask for the flexibility to sign in with their Skype account, so we’ve added the ability to do this too. Don’t forget to link your Skype account to your Microsoft Account to fully experience improved security, privacy and password recovery.

• HD Screen Support
If you have an HD screen, Skype will now appear in all its glory.

• Faster App Resume Time on Windows Phone 8.1
We always want to help you access your conversations as quickly as possible, so we’ve worked hard to make the Windows Phone 8.1 app resume even faster.

Click here to download the updated version of Skype from the Windows Phone Store

Source: Skype

Skype for iPhone is updated to support all screen sizes, including iPhone 6 Plus

screen-shot-iphone-5-6-blog-postMicrosoft has updated their iPhone Skype app today, and with this release come many improvements such as UI scaling and resolution support for all iPhone screen sizes including the new iPhone 6 Plus. Now you will have more native screen space for recent chats as the app is optimized to show more messages in conversation view.

This is the second update of the Skype app that continues to build on the new iOS 8 extensions, and Microsoft promises that “whether you’re using an iPhone 4 or an iPhone 6+, you’ll get the best Skype experience for your screen size” according to official Skype blog post.

Here is what’s new in version 5.6:

– Native resolution support for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+
– Presence indicators are now displayed in the “recent” list
– Number of contacts and time zones are now shown on contact profiles
– Individual conversations can be marked as read/unread
– Notification sounds are disabled in “Do not disturb” mode
– General Improvements

Click here to Download Skype for iPhone from iTunes

Source: Skype Blog

Send instant video messages with Microsoft's new Skype Qik app


Microsoft’s Skype team has released a new app called Skype Qik – it’s a fairly simple video messaging app that’s meant for sending video messages to friends and even groups of friends.  It’s officially available today for all three major platforms, from iOS to Android and of course Windows Phone.

“It’s easy to swap video messages with groups of friends and show everyone what’s happening down at the pub, catch up on the latest gossip, or make everyone jealous with your thrift shopping finds. But don’t worry, your silly videos won’t live on for all eternity and come back to haunt you. Each video lasts exactly 2 weeks. And if you send a message by mistake, or don’t like the video, don’t panic! You can erase any video you’ve sent from the chat, whether it’s been watched it or not. If you don’t want to receive messages from someone, you have the ability to block contacts on Android and Windows Phone. This feature will be available on iPhone in the coming months.”

Perhaps the one thing that may not be nice for Windows Phone users to hear is that the iOS and Android version will support a feature called Qik Flik while the Windows Phone version will support the feature at a later time.  Qik Flik is basically lets you record and  send quick five-second videos.  But at least the ability to block contacts will be available on Windows Phone before it comes to the iPhone.

Download it here from the Windows Phone store

skype-qik-ios-android-windows-phone

Source: Skype Blog

Skype 5.5 update for iPhone brings more interactive notifications through iOS 8 extensions

skype_5.5_iphone_ios8Microsoft is quite serious when it comes to supporting its services on other platforms and making sure its software takes full advantage of all OS capabilities. This is evident as today Skype version 5.5 for iPhone has been released to include some nifty new features which make great use of extensions in iOS 8 to deliver interactive notifications.

Skype 5.5 for iPhone now allows users to answer voice and video calls as well as jump into text conversations directly from the lock screen and notifications center. This makes the Skype experience on iPhone even better as there are now less steps needed to stay connected.

According to Microsoft, some of the key features added with this Skype update include:

– From the lock screen, swiping left on a notification will reveal your options.

– From the notification center (including the drop down while using your phone), swiping down on the notification will reveal the same options. Once you have selected an option, Skype will launch to complete it.

– For incoming calls, you can choose to answer with voice or video.

– For missed calls you can return the call or send a message.

– And for incoming messages, you can jump right to the text box to reply.

Source: Skype Blog

Skype 5.0 update for Android will let users find friends automatically

skype_5.0_for_androidMicrosoft will be rolling out a new feature for Skype users on Android devices to make it easier for them to connect with existing contacts. The Skype 5.0 update for Android arrived today and in a few weeks, it will allow users to connect Skype to their phone’s address book – this feature will then be rolled out to other mobile platforms.

“After you download the latest Android update, in the coming months you’ll be prompted to verify your phone number,” writes Pierre-Eric Jacoupy in a Skype blog post. “From there, the app will automatically look for contact matches between Skype and your address book. When matches are found, you’ll see new contacts show up in your Skype people list. Your Skype contacts will keep evolving as more friends in your address book join Skype.”

Source: Microsoft/Skype Blog