Microsoft Relaunches Skype, Adds Highlights Video Feature

With Facebook and other rivals offering better video communication tools, Skype was in serious need of a reboot.

The Microsoft-owned service relaunched on Thursday with several new features, including one that closely resembles Snapchat Stories.

Dubbed Highlights, the Stories clone encourages users to create a “highlight reel” of their day with photos and videos -- with the intention of sharing them with friends and family. After people post a highlight, their connections can react to it with emoticons or text.

Revolving around a new “Find” panel -- for easier searching -- the entire Skye interface can now be customized to reflect users’ favorite colors.

Going big on bots, Skype will also be more closely linked to services like Stubhub, BigOven and Expedia. Users will be able pull ticket pricing and seating options directly into theirs chat; find a good cookie recipe; and check flight times and pricing for an upcoming trip.

At launch, the new Skype is only available to users of the Android mobile operating system. Support for Apple’s iOS is expected in a matter of weeks, while desktop support is slated for later this year.

Of course, Microsoft is not new to the bot game. By late last year, more than 45,000 developers were already using its Bot Framework, according< /a> to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

This is not the first instance of Microsoft stealing from Snap’s playbook. The software giant recently unveiled Sprinkles -- a camera app, which uses artificial intelligence software to suggest smart captions.

Much like Snap’s flagship Snapchat app, Sprinkles can also frame users’ faces, then custom fit the images with fun graphics. The app also features hundreds of emojis and stickers.

Also of note, Microsoft is no stranger to social. The company officially completed its $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn last year.

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