Microsoft Adds Video Message Filters to Skype's Mobile App
A number of Microsoft-driven improvements for Skype aim to make the application more fun and easier to use. Microsoft said Thursday that it has added video message filters for the mobile version of Skype. The Skype application for iPhone, iPad, and Android now lets users customize the short video clips that they send to Skype contacts.
That feature, which can be activated at the bottom left of the Skype video message screen, includes a button that lets users pick filters and see previews of what the resulting videos might look like. The new filters include balloons, face-changing options, Halloween-themed ghosts and costumes, and one that simulates a photo negative.
The updated Skype also lets users share contacts by tapping on the contact card icon in conversations to open their contact lists, then selecting the appropriate contacts and tapping the tick icon. There’s also the option to hide or delete entire conversations from the recent conversations category, either by pressing edit on the contacts or by swiping across the contacts' names. Users can even delete conversations from the chat menu while conversations are taking place.
Quicker is Better
Part of the reason for the enhancements is Skype’s ongoing goal of loading user conversations more quickly. Users can preview links, contacts, or photos by pressing on the content from within conversations, moving that content to the front by pressing harder -- swiping up reveals more actions.
The newest Skype video message option builds on Mojis, the animated GIFs that Microsoft added to Skype earlier this year. The difference is that now, video messages can be customized by users, rather than depending on the stock set of provided Mojis.
While the new Skype format potentially has both personal and business applications, the overriding idea behind it seems to lend itself more to fun than to usefulness, according to Jim McGregor, principal analyst with Tirias Research in Phoenix.
"It's difficult to be in the messaging business, because you not only have to make your app functional, you have to continue to add new features to make it interesting -- especially for the younger generation that is always looking for the next new thing," McGregor told us. "If anything, this may help retain some of those younger users and possibly attract others. But, it will not make a difference for the rest of us that just use Skype for the communications functions it was originally designed for."
The new Skype application uses 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Microsoft has also introduced new features to the Skype icon for iOS. For instance, users can press or Force Touch the icon to immediately bring up the most frequently used options, such as search, dial pad or start call. Swiping upward can reveal more options. The upgraded app also contains Skype’s other recently added features, including a built-in Skype Translator.