Bottom line: Microsoft's new background blur feature will be incredibly handy but as Redmond warns, it isn't failproof. If you've got something especially sensitive in the background, removing it from view before launching a call is the best course of action to prevent any embarrassment or leaks.
Microsoft is bringing the background blur technology it introduced in Teams last summer to Skype.
Background blur in Skype uses artificial intelligence trained in human form detection to ensure you remain in focus during a call. Microsoft said the AI is specifically trained to detect things like hands, arms and hair to keep them sharp while blurring everything else.
The new feature is available in the latest version of Skype for most desktops and laptops. To enable it, simply hover over the video button and select “blur my background.”
Microsoft says it does its best to blur your surroundings but cannot guarantee that everything will always be blurred. As such, if you’ve got confidential information – say, a business plan on a whiteboard – or anything else damning lingering in the background, it’d probably be best to move it (or change locations) before hopping on an important call.
No word yet on whether or not Microsoft is planning to bring the feature to mobile versions of Skype although given its similarity to portrait modes found on many of today’s smartphones, it probably wouldn’t be too difficult to do so.
Lead image courtesy Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko via Shutterstock