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Skype’s new preview beta adds a touch of Snapchat

Remember Skype? The video conferencing tool is a product we haven’t covered in a while, and that’s largely because its feature set hasn’t changed radically since Microsoft bought it from eBay in 2011. But that’s about to change, at least judging by this week’s news.

Skype’s mobile app, available on Android and iOS, is set to receive a number of updates to bring it in line with the other instant messaging apps of this world.

Skype Chat will now boast a “Find Panel” which will allow users to “easily find and share links, news, sports results, restaurants, the weather, videos and more without leaving the app.” Nifty.

Judging by images of the feature, the Skype app will let users swipe horizontally across the screen to access two new panels, namely “Camera” and “Find”. While the camera tab does the obvious, the find tab seemingly allows users to access the likes of Giphy to add GIFs to messages.

Skype’s new preview features brings it into the modern age of social messaging apps, where GIFs and reactions rule

You can also now “respond to any message from your contacts with multiple reactions” much like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.

As video calling is the service’s strength, this also includes in-call reactions. And nope, not just emojis. Skype claims that users can add “live emoticons, live text and even real-time photos” to video calls.

“We all know a picture speaks a thousand words, and now you can amp up those video calls, especially when you’re keeping pace with a busy group,” the company adds.

So when will these features be available? Right now actually, but you’ll need to enroll in the beta programmes for iOS and Android.

There’s no indication of when these additions will filter through to the stable version of Skype, but the team also promises that these are the first of many.

Author | Andy Walker: Editor

Andy Walker: Editor
Camper by day, run-and-gunner by night, Andy prefers his toast like his coffee -- dark and crunchy. Specialising in spotting the next big Instagram cat star, Andy also dabbles in smartphone and game reviews over on Gearburn. More