Would you believe Skype’s free video calling dates all the way to 2006? That was back when clouds only existed in blue skies. In other words, it was before cloud technology changed the face of computing.
Fast forward six years and in 2012 Skype brought one-to-one video calling to mobile phones. All told, Skype has posted 2 trillion minutes of free Skype video calls over the last 10 years. Now, the company is taking another giant leap for the smartphone-using-kind with group video calling.
“To celebrate 10 years of video calling, get ready to welcome group video calling on Android, iPhone, iPad and Windows 10 Mobile -- everywhere, completely free,” said Gurdeep Pall, corporate vice president for the Information Platform & Experience team at Microsoft, in a blog post yesterday. “We’ll be rolling out this new feature to our hundreds of millions of mobile users in the coming weeks.”
Translations and More
Beyond group video calling, Skype has been busy in recent months on the communications app front. Last year, Skype brought video messaging to the market. Skype users with the latest version can send video messages to other Skype users even if they're not available or they're offline.
Skype is also working to break down the language barrier with business colleagues, friends or family with Skype Translator. The feature lets users translate voice and video calls into seven languages. People can also translate instant messages in over 50 languages.
Still in preview mode, Skype Translator launched late last year and relies on machine learning, meaning it learns as an individual uses it and improves performance. Skype recommends users put on headphones and purposely speak clearly to get the best possible translations. Skype Translator works with machines running Windows 7 or higher.
One of the biggest improvements to Skype in 2015 was version 6.6, which brought phone number, date and address detection to the application and made multitasking a lot stronger.
For example, Skype 6.6 highlights addresses, phone numbers, times and dates. When a user taps on highlighted text, Skype is put into action, either dialing a number, opening a map or calendar app.
“We’ll automatically set up the event using the details from the chat to speed things up for you,” the company said in a blog post. “We’ll also add a Skype chat URL in the calendar notes, which is perfect if you’re setting up a call reminder -- just open the event and tap on the chat URL to get straight back to your chat.”
In terms of multitasking front, Skype 6.6 aims to make it easier to return to a live Skype call, either audio or video, from the contact list or from instant messages by tapping the active call banner or moving directly back to the call. And users will see the new unread message counter at the top of their instant messaging conversations while they're chatting. Users can hit their “back” buttons to see the missed messages.
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