With the focus of Microsoft's video calling in enterprise currently on Teams, it's easy to forget about Skype. But the company has been quietly rolling out small updates over the past few months, and its latest one introduces some major features.
Meet Now aims to reduce the barrier to video calling people on Skype. It removes the need for every participant to have an account by letting you send a link. The addition should make it far easier to have Christmas calls with technophobic relatives.
Unfortunately, Meet Now's use case is heavily limited right now in that it's not available on the web. Participants will still have to either download Skype or use the client that comes with Windows 10. Either way, it's a useful improvement.
On top of Meet Now, Skype now supports voice messages, or as Microsoft calls it “a message with tone”. The idea here is to provide options in situations where you're struggling to get your meaning across with typing, but don't want to video call. It also opens the door to other content, such as sharing singing and other sounds. This is a feature that has been in WhatsApp and other messaging/video platforms for years, but it'll be nice for users to see all the time.
All of this and some bug fixes comes with Skype 8.55, which also got a mobile release. On those platforms, users will note the ability to scan documents like in Office Lens, and “other photo and video personalization enhancements”.
Both updates started slowly rolling out on December 10, and should now be available to most users. You can grab the latest version of Skype from the official site.