Many popular messaging apps started out as rather basic offerings with video chat and other features added further down the road. Skype, on the other hand, came at it from the other way, establishing itself as a tool for voice and video calls before blending in more and more messaging features.
This week Microsoft-owned Skype revealed it’s making a determined effort to catch up with the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger with the release of a raft of new features.
So, what’s new?
For starters, Skype for mobile and desktop now offers message drafts for when you forget to hit send, or if you don’t have time to finish what you wanted to say.
“Any message that you typed, but didn’t send, is saved in the corresponding conversation and marked with the [draft] tag — so you can easily recognize, finish, and send it later,” the company said in a blog post introducing the new features.
Another new addition to the service is message bookmarks. It means that with a simple right click or long press, you can save a message to your bookmarks, enabling quick access to those fun family photos or a rather less fun work-related matter.
Also, before you send a message, it’s now possible to preview photos, videos, and files that you’ve selected to share. First, select the media and/or files that you want to send to others. This displays them in the message panel so you can confirm they’re the precise ones that you want to share with your contact. The panel also makes it easy to remove any content that you’ve selected by mistake, and you can continue to add new material if there’s something else you want to send. You can add a comment to send with the files, too, so the recipient knows exactly what’s in the message.
Skype also said that when you go to share a collection of photos with friends or family, it’ll ensure the images are “nicely presented” in the form of a “nice album in the chat history with all the photos combined,” while you’ll also have the option to tap on each photo for a closer look.
Finally, the split window feature that launched for Windows 10 a few months ago has now landed for Windows, Mac, and Linux running the latest version of Skype. The feature lets you view your contact list in one window, with multiple conversations able to be opened in separate windows.
The features are certainly handy additions to Skype’s messaging service, but persuading enough people to switch to it over rival apps is clearly going to be something of a challenge.
If you’re interested, Digital Trends has more information on some of the best messaging apps currently available for Android and iOS.