Skype has unveiled the next generation of its popular service, with new features to help people chat, call and share.
It has been completely rebuilt, giving users the power to personalise their experience on mobile and desktop.
One feature of the new Skype allows people involved in a conversation to tap the reaction icon next to any message or video call to express how you feel in an emoticon.
Meanwhile, Highlights lets you create a reel of photos and videos from your day to share with friends. Users can simply swipe their finger across the screen to access their camera, take a photo or video, then post it to Highlights or send it directly to contacts or groups. Once a Highlight is posted, friends and family can react to it with emoticons or start a conversation.
A new “Find” panel makes it easy to locate anything in Skype. Using this option, you can tell bots to find you event tickets, recipes and holidays, among other things, and drag these straight into a conversation you are having with a friend. New bots and add-ins will be released regularly, so users can connect with their favourite companies and brands from within Skype.
Users can also customise their Skype with their favourite colours.
“We’re really excited to share this new Skype with you. We think it’s the best Skype we’ve ever built – inside and out – and it’s been designed to make it easier for you to use for your everyday communications,” the company said in a blog post. “Now, Skype can be with you for all life’s moments, no matter where the world takes you – on your favourite devices, to smart speakers, and beyond.
“Skype has been a part of your life since 2003. Yet, our promise to you has always stayed the same: to help you create meaningful connections, regardless of the distance, in new, simple and intuitive ways. And with the new Skype we’re closer than ever to bringing your world together.”
The new Skype will be rolled out worldwide on mobile devices from today, with the desktop version to follow in the near future. It will initially be available on Android, before being released to iPhone, Windows and Mac users.
These are just the latest changes Skype has made in recent months.
In November last year, Skype opened up its service so even people without accounts can chat to each other for free.
Users can also download a Heston Blumenthal Skype bot that teaches them how to cook; a Doctor Who bot that interacts with fans to help them complete challenges; and a Doctor Strange bot that helps them become the Marvel superhero’s assistant. Skype has also helped a series of companies release bots to make it easier for customers to shop. These include UPS, Expedia and StubHub.
Meanwhile, Skype’s voice translator works in eight languages, and its text translator is available in more than 50 languages for instant messaging.