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Something to look forward to: Microsoft’s aggressive push for Teams and the app’s native integration into Windows 11 may have caused users to think the company would shelve Skype at some point. However, the good ol’ teleconferencing and chat app appears to be far from retirement given the announcement of several new features, design, and performance improvements slated to arrive over the next few months.
Skype is getting yet another revamp as part of Microsoft’s efforts to modernize the app. Chief among them is the updated call stage feature, which is getting Zoom-like layouts for arranging participants in small/large grid, speaker view, alongside the recently added Together mode. The interface will also let users disable video stream and hide audio-only participants from the call stage for reduced clutter.
Users will also be able to add a mobile device to their call as a second camera with the 'TwinCam feature' and make use of Skype's Universal Translator for real-time language translation during landline and video calls.
Skype's interface is being worked on as well. Although there are several gradient elements present in the existing app, the upcoming changes will push the use of gradients throughout the app, introduce more colorful themes and include Fluent Design icons for a modern look and feel. The app’s left side panel is also getting minor tweaks to make it visually appealing.
Skype's 'Meet Now' feature is also getting improvements, with a redesigned lobby and the addition of previews in join links. The latter will display the host's name and avatar to users invited to a 'Meet Now' session.
As for performance improvements, Microsoft touts a 2,000 percent improvement on Android and a 30 percent improvement on desktop in 'key scenarios.' Hopefully, that means less loading times and faster connections.
Finally, another welcome change -- which has been rolled out -- is the ability to customize notification sounds, which Microsoft notes was one of the top requested features. Others, meanwhile, will make their way to Skype over the coming months.