Skype says it has redesigned both apps with a focus on making it easier to chat and share. Furthermore, the Microsoft-owned company hopes this revamp brings the desktop apps more inline with Skype for mobile. Some of the attempts are obvious right out of the box: You should see thumbnail pictures of your contacts, a new bubble-style chat design, as well as the same icons across the platforms for chat, video calls, and audio calls.
Without further ado, here’s the new Windows app:
And here’s the Mac app:
The biggest improvement to the chat experience is probably support for photos: They now show up inline as you’d expect — no need to fiddle with opening them up. The Windows app has received more spacing between contacts and chats, as well as message previews for unread chats.
Photos aside, file sharing has been improved overall. If you send certain file types over, like Office documents and PDFs, they’ll be marked by file icons, which should make it easier to find them when you’re going through your chat history.
Last but not least, Skype says it has found many of its users send IMs while on a live call. The new side-by-side design is meant to make this multitasking easier:
In short, you can now share messages, photos, and other files without ever leaving your voice or video call. Not exactly groundbreaking, but when you stop hearing your call partner, you can message them without having to look around frantically clicking to find the chat box.
Skype today also said group video calling, which it made free in April, works great in these new clients, but that’s not technically new. The company did promise, however, that “several exciting improvements and new features” are on the way.