Microsoft announced a new Skype interface for Android

From Snapchat, Microsoft is now utilizing the ability to edit photos with stickers and the familiar black bar of text in the middle of images and the company's "highlights" panel is very similar to stories that first showed up on Snapchat and is now on all of Facebook's products.

Microsoft just unveiled a redesigned version of Skype that adds a suite of new features ripped straight from Snapchat and Facebook's playbook.

"We've allowed you to stay connected in expressive and fun ways, without the confinements of these other experiences", Raghav said.

Over time, Skype hopes to enable users to watch videos and play games together during video calls.

Skype desperately needed this refresh. "The good news is we're finally done".

Microsoft says that the new Skype will make group chats "more lively" and personalized.

Up until today, Microsoft had not talked about its plans to modernize the Skype UI as part of Skype overhaul.

Facebook isn't one to balk at imitation. New add-ins and bots will continue to be added, making your Skype experience even more rich and robust.

Thursday's update follows a corporate restructuring and layoffs as Microsoft consolidates what used to be Skype's broad European footprint.

The company changed the way Skype works to make it more reliable, moving it from being a peer-to-peer network to one where people connect to a massive centralized service. A Highlight created by a user can be commented on by family or friends using emoticons and messages as well.

Microsoft said that Skype has been "rebuilt from the ground up", with an improved interface in which "chatting is front and center".

Skype's remaining development offices are in Estonia, the Czech Republic, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Microsoft's Redmond headquarters.

"Highlights lets you create a highlight reel of your day with photos and videos, so you can share everyday moments", the team explained.

The new Skype is now available for Android devices with an iOS version arriving next month.

Examples given are chatting with the Expedia bot to check flight times and pricing, pull ticket pricing and seating options from the StubHub bot, or weather forecasts. It includes your personal friends, but might also include a series of apps and businesses that you exchange data with regularly. The social elements are intuitive and intelligent, but the biggest change is that Skype has officially become more of a chat application than a video calling tool.

"What differentiates (services) is not feature A or feature B, it's the network that you have", Raghav said. Users can choose the theme for the color transitions on the chat bubbles, and they can also choose to completely disable them if they want to. That's still there. Let's take a look at what's new but, before we do, a quick note that this is only rolling out to Android now and will be available for iPhones soon.

  • Carolyn Briggs